Universiteit Leiden

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PhD Candidate, Generative Information Retrieval

Omvang (fte)
Geplaatst op
12 december 2023
3 februari 2024 Vacature gesloten

The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) are looking for a :

PhD Candidate, Generative Information Retrieval
Vacancy number: 14375

Recent advancements in generative neural networks have greatly expanded the capabilities of large language models. These models not only excel at memorizing the vocabulary, morphology, and syntax of human languages but also demonstrate the ability to memorize and reason over knowledge. This evolution offers thrilling prospects for improving generative information retrieval (GenIR) systems. GenIR aims to utilize generative AI models to produce and rank lists of document identifiers in response to user queries. However, this field is not without its hurdles. Merging semantic insights from previously unseen documents into the retrieval process is an intricate challenge. Additionally, LLMs are prone to biases and hallucinations, which can hinder their deployment in GenIR.

We are seeking applications for a fully-funded PhD position focused on Information Retrieval within the GenIR domain. The selected candidate will tackle the challenges associated with GenIR by developing new paradigms that harness the power of LLMs. The research will unfold across three dimensions: (1) enhancing the GenIR models' ability to generalize through cutting-edge learning methods, (2) devising tailored knowledge alignment strategies for LLMs, and (3) implementing GenIR algorithms in diverse settings such as search engines and recommendation systems. The exact projects will be decided around the student's interests and the expertise of the supervisor (Dr. Zhaochun Ren: https://renzhaochun.github.io)

Key responsibilities

  • Conduct original and novel research in the field of Information Retrieval, focusing on Generative Information Retrieval;
  • Publish and present scientific articles at international journals and conferences;
  • Engage in collaborations with other researchers within and outside LIACS;
  • Assist in relevant teaching activities;

Selection Criteria

  • MSc degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Applied Mathematics, or related field;
  • Solid background in Computer Science and Mathematics;
  • Excellent programming skills in e.g., Python, C, C++;
  • Experience with Machine Learning;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English;
  • Prior expertise in information retrieval, recommender systems, or natural language processing is a plus;

Research at our faculty
The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2.300 staff and almost 5,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together. For more information, see www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science and https://workingat.leiden.edu/

The Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) is the Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science Institute in the Faculty of Science of Leiden University. We offer courses at the Bachelor and Master of Science level in Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, ICT in Business, Media Technology, and Bioinformatics. According to an independent research visitation, we are one of the foremost computer science departments of the Netherlands. We strive for excellence in a caring institute, where excellence, fun, and diversity go hand in hand. We offer a clear and inviting career path to young and talented scientists with the ambition to grow. For more information about LIACS, see https://www.cs.leiden.edu

Terms and conditions
We offer a full-time 1 year term position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary range from € 2.770,- to € 3.539,- gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science www.graduateschools.leidenuniv.nl. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school.

D&I statement
Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

Enquiries can be made to Dr. Zhaochun Ren: z.ren@liacs.leidenuniv.nl If you have any questions about the procedure, please contact Anne-Marie Alleblas, email: jobs@liacs.leidenuniv.nl

Please submit online your application via the blue button in the vacancy. Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:

  • A motivation letter that motivates your choice for this position (max 2 pages A4);
  • A brief research proposal for your PhD research (max 2 pages A4);
  • A curriculum vitae, including your list of publications if applicable;
  • (Draft of) your master’s thesis if available;
  • A complete record of Bachelor and Master courses;
  • The names and contact addresses of at least two academic references who have agreed to be contacted (please do not include any recommendation letters).

Only applications received before February 4th, 2024 can be considered.

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