Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI)


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Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) has a vacancy in the “Intelligent and Autonomous Systems” research group for a talented

PhD in Automated Negotiation and Multi-agent Systems

Job description

The world of trading is changing rapidly. Whereas in the past, people would contact their vendors personally over phone or e-mail, online peer-to-peer trading platforms now make it possible for vendors to negotiate in a more effective and scalable way. This creates a new opportunity to use artificial intelligence techniques and negotiation agents that can support vendors in their negotiations and eventually make deals autonomously on their behalf. This requires a combination of a state-of-the-art multi-agent and machine learning techniques that can support the user in making efficient offers and learn the preferences of the user as well as of the trading partners.

The aim of the vacant position is to develop fundamental and applicable solutions for agent negotiations and to develop a new online trading framework. Depending on the interests and expertise of the candidate, the project draws on tools and techniques from artificial intelligence, multi-agent learning, combinatorics, preference modeling and elicitation, protocol design, machine learning, automated negotiation, decision support systems, and sequential multi-agent decision-making under uncertainty. One of the scientific challenges in this project will be to formulate negotiation strategies that can strike partial deals with multiple partners at the same time.

The project is a collaboration between CWI and Utrecht University, and the applicant can divide their time between both institutes. The vacant position will primarily devise algorithms and simulation experiments for concurrent negotiations in face of uncertainty, and will closely collaborate with other project team members for the implementation of experimental tests.

The successful applicant will contribute to the research group's ambition to develop and mature fundamental principles that find applications in practical intelligent and autonomous systems. The position is embedded in a diverse team of motivated junior and senior researchers (including B.Sc., M.Sc. and PhD students) with experience and ongoing complementary projects on topics such as multi-agent learning, autonomous representation, negotiation, smart energy systems, and more. Group alumni have moved on to excellent positions in academia and industry, making it a cornerstone in their career path.

We offer a fully funded PhD position for a period of 4 years. The PhD position is funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) Vidi grant, which is an individual grant for talented, creative researchers to conduct research of their choice. The PhD will be embedded in the graduate school of Utrecht University and will have ample learning opportunities in the form of summer schools, PhD courses, and international competitions. There is a personal budget available for travel to workshops and conferences, and multiple research visits to other universities and companies are anticipated.


Candidates are required to have an M.Sc. degree in computer science, mathematics, artificial intelligence, or similar areas with relevant experience. If you are obtaining your M.Sc. degree soon, you are also invited to apply.

Candidates should have a clear interest in fundamental research, should have interest in multi-agent systems and in the application area of negotiation and trading, should be able to cooperate with experts from different disciplines, and should be experienced in programming (preferably object-oriented, e.g. Python, Java). Needed qualifications for candidates include a passion for science and good academic writing and presentation skills. Candidates are expected to have an excellent command of English.

Terms and conditions

The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centres ("CAO-onderzoeksinstellingen"). The initial labour agreement will be for a period of 18 months. After a positive evaluation, the agreement will be extended by 30 months. The gross monthly salary, for a PhD student on a full time basis, is € 2,441 during the first year and increases to €3,128 over the four year period. Employees are also entitled to a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.33%. CWI offers attractive working conditions, including flexible scheduling and help with housing for expat employees.

Please visit our websites for more information about our terms of employment: 
https://www.cwi.nl/jobs/terms-of-employment and

Information and application

Applications can be sent until and including July 31st 2022. To apply please click the ‘apply’ button which will open an application form at the bottom of the webpage. The application must include:

  • A detailed CV.
  • A letter of motivation including research interests and reasons for applying.
  • B.Sc. and M.Sc. level certificates.
  • Lists of courses followed (at B.Sc. and M.Sc. level) including obtained grades.

The preferred starting date is between September and November 2022, to be determined in consultation with the candidate.

For non-native English speakers, a TOEFL English language test might be required.

For more information about the vacancy, please contact dr. Tim Baarslag, telephone +31(0)20 592 4019, email: T.Baarslag@cwi.nl, homepage: https://homepages.cwi.nl/~baarslag/

For more information about CWI, please visit www.cwi.nl or watch our video about working at CWI.

Diversity code

CWI encourages a diverse workforce: we endeavour to develop talent and creativity by bringing people from different backgrounds and cultures together. We recruit and select based on capabilities and talent. We strongly encourage everyone with the appropriate qualifications to apply for the vacancy, regardless of age, gender, origin, sexual orientation or physical abilities.

About CWI

Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) is the Dutch national research institute for mathematics and computer science and is an institute of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The mission of CWI is to conduct pioneering research in mathematics and computer science, generating new knowledge in these fields and conveying it to trade, industry, and society at large. CWI is an internationally oriented institute, with 160 scientists from approximately 30 countries. The facilities are first-rate and include excellent IT support, career planning, training, and courses. CWI is located at Amsterdam Science Park which is home to one of the largest concentrations of beta science in Europe. A melting pot of innovation. Companies looking to collaborate can work together with brilliant students, scientists and fellow entrepreneurs. Collectively they develop revolutionary solutions for today’s issues and tomorrow’s challenges.

About Research group

For more information about the research of the Intelligent and Autonomous Systems group at CWI, please visit the website: https://www.cwi.nl/research/groups/intelligent-and-autonomous-systems

You will also join the Intelligent Systems group at the Department of Information and Computing Sciences of Utrecht University. You will be working closely with members of this research group, other research groups within and outside of the faculty, and collaborators from outside of Utrecht University.

Utrecht University is a friendly and ambitious university at the heart of an ancient city. Utrecht is a thriving cultural hub that is consistently rated as one of the world’s happiest cities. Utrecht University os renowned for their innovative interdisciplinary research and emphasis on inspirational research and excellent education. This lively and inspiring academic environment attracts professors, researchers, and PhD candidates from all over the globe, making both the University and the Faculty of Science a vibrant international and wonderfully diverse community.

For more information about conducting a PhD in the Netherlands and Utrecht in particular, please visit: https://www.uu.nl/en/organisation/phd-programmes/phd-in-utrecht/about-phd-programmes

Informatie over de vacature

Science Park 123 Amsterdam, Nederland
Uiterste sollicitatiedatum
Soort functie
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