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Postdoc (CWI, Amsterdam): Learning utility functions for Negotiation & Intelligent Control

Autonomous control requires a model of the preferences for the user (or users) to be represented. This model must deal with partial information and …

9 maanden geleden


Science Park, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur
€ 2620 - € 4848 per maand


Autonomous control requires a model of the preferences for the user (or users) to be represented. This model must deal with partial information and uncertainty, which may be addressed with techniques from function approximation and machine learning/planning under uncertainty. The Grid-Friends project has a vacancy for a postdoctoral researcher to address local control in smart energy cooperatives, in charge of optimizing the activation of flexible assets and external negotiation commitments. The vacant position aims to build on meaningful representations of partial preference models, devise negotiation and/or control strategies given such models, and build novel preference elicitation algorithms to optimally query a user to improve utility function approximations (of an individual or a collective).

The project is a European collaboration and includes next to another research institute two pilot sites, Schoonschip in Amsterdam and one in Cologne. The successful candidate will closely collaborate with other project team members for the implementation of lab and field tests.

Energy systems are currently in a revolutionary transition, due to the increasing inclusion of sustainable energy sources. Whereas in the past, energy supply was determined by demand and was supplied centrally, in the future, demand and increasingly decentralized supply will need to respond to each other. Their balancing requires a combination of adjusting conventional generation, exploiting efficient storage technologies and implementing demand response with corresponding incentives thereof. Balancing activities may take place on multiple scales, from the individual household to the European or even an envisioned global grid. This project addresses balancing control and incentives pertinent to smart energy cooperatives within the European project Grid-Friends, whose proposal has been selected and ranked #1 in the ERANET SmartGrid+ program.

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


The candidate is required to have a Ph.D. in computer science, artificial intelligence, mathematics, or in comparable areas. Exceptional M.Sc. candidates may apply to fill this vacancy as a project researcher instead. Candidates should have a clear interest in fundamental research, should be creative and solid in their research, should have interest in multi-agent systems and in the application area of smart grids, and should be able to cooperate with experts from different disciplines. Candidates are expected to have an excellent command of English, and experience in academic writing and presentation.


The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centres ("CAO-onderzoeksinstellingen"). The gross monthly salary for an employee on a full time basis, depending on relevant work experience, ranges from ca. € 2620 to € 4848. The appointment will be for a period of up to 16 months, with a preferred starting date of June 1, 2018.

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.

Please visit our website for more information about our terms of employment: www.cwi.nl/terms-of-employment

Additional information

A first selection will be made based on applications that arrive before or on 23 April; however selection will continue until the position is filled, i.e. please apply asap. All applications should include

  • a motivation letter, explaining the interest in the proposed research fields,
  • a detailed CV,
  • names and contact details of at least two referees, and
  • a list of publications, and a link to the PhD thesis, if available.

For residents outside the EER-area, a Toefl English language test might be required.

For more information about the vacancies, please contact

Website of research group “Intelligent and Autonomous Systems (IAS)”: https://www.cwi.nl/research/groups/intelligent-autonomous-systems

A Video introduction of the group’s focus is available as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjmPrN5iWw0

For more information about CWI, please visit www.cwi.nl or watch our video “A Fundamental Difference” about working at CWI.