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Digital information technology is increasingly interwoven with our society and individuals' daily lives. With these digital technologies tracking and influencing our everyday behavior, they should align with the user's needs and values. To achieve this, personal agents need to model the user's informational and motivational attitudes such as goals, values, norms, beliefs, and their interrelations in order to derive support actions that are aligned with the user. This is challenging because 1) user models need to be understandable to and modifiable by the user, 2) conflicts may occur in the user's motivations, and 3) the user's state and motivations may change over time and in different contexts. Techniques from the area of knowledge representation & reasoning (KRR) and in particular non-monotonic reasoning (NMR) offer a promising approach for addressing these challenges as they are in principle easier to explain, and designed for dealing with conflicting and dynamic information.
We offer a fully funded 4-year PhD position to investigate how KRR & NMR techniques such as belief revision, argumentation, defeasible reasoning, inconsistency handling, and reasoning about actions can be employed for user modelling in the context of personal agents. Questions that can be addressed are for example: Which types of update operations on user models are required? Is a new norm in conflict with existing desired behaviors? Can belief revision techniques be adapted for run-time norm revision? With this we lay the foundations for flexible and value-aligned personal agents that give people agency over their lives with digital technology.
The position is associated with the [Hybrid Intelligence Centre](https://www.hybrid-intelligence-centre.nl), a 10-year Dutch national research program which investigates how we can create AI that augments, instead of replaces human intelligence.
The prospective candidates are expected to perform and publish high quality and internationally visible research, and be involved in teaching and student supervision to a limited extent.
University of Twente (UT)
- You hold or will soon hold a Master's degree (or equivalent) in computer science, artificial intelligence, or a related field;
- You have excellent proficiency in English in speaking and writing (C1; above IELTS 7 or equivalent);
- You have good communication skills, excellent conceptual and analytical skills, and you have an interest in working in a multidisciplinary environment;
- You have interest and some experience in one or more of the following, or related topics: knowledge representation and reasoning, non-monotonic reasoning, computational logic, logic-based agents, logic & language, or formal methods.
Conditions of employment
- As a PhD student at UT, you will be appointed to a full-time position for four years, with a qualifier in the first year, within a very stimulating and exciting scientific environment;
- The University offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues;
- Your salary and associated conditions are in accordance with the collective labour agreement for Dutch universities (CAO-NU);
- You will receive a gross monthly salary ranging from € 2.443,- (first year) to € 3.122,- (fourth year);
- There are excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, and a solid pension scheme;
- A family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid);
- You will have a training programme as part of the Twente Graduate School where you and your supervisors will determine a plan for a suitable education and supervision;
- We encourage a high degree of responsibility and independence, while collaborating with close colleagues, researchers and other staff.
- A friendly and welcoming research group, with attention to employee wellbeing.