4 PhD and 1 Post-doc Position in Statistical Machine Translation

Applications are invited for four fully-funded 4-year PhD positions and one fully-funded 3-year post-doc position in the area of Statistical Machine Translation. The positions are funded through an advanced research fellowship (Vidi scheme) by the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO) and a governmental research grant. The application deadline for all positions is 15 December, 2012. The starting date for all positions is early 2013.

Research Description

The research positions focus on improving state-of-the-art statistical machine translation approaches by investigating how better modeling of the generation process can be utilized to realize more fluent and accurate translations. The research will aim to substantially improve machine translation quality by achieving:

– robust translation quality across different genres, ranging from formal language use in legal documents to casual language use in social media;

– improved modeling of domain independent machine translation, spanning legal, political, entertainment, and sports documents;

– improved modeling of fluency criteria, in particular for languages for which only limited training data are available.

You will be supervised by Dr. Christof Monz and based in the Informatics Institute at the University of Amsterdam. The Informatics Institute consists of more than 40 members of permanent research faculty, over 25 post-doctoral researchers, and more than 100 PhD students, together representing more than a dozen nationalities. Members of the institute are actively pursuing a variety of research initiatives, including machine translation, natural language processing, (cross-language) information retrieval, social network analysis, computer vision, machine learning, and multi-agent systems.


You must have an MSc (for the PhD positions) or a PhD (or close to completion, for the post-doc position) in computer science, artificial intelligence, computational linguistics or a closely related area. In addition, you should

– (for the post-doc position only:) have a strong track record of successful implementation and publication in natural language processing or machine learning. A background in statistical machine translation is a plus;

– have strong curiosity to solve problems in natural language processing;

– have a strong background in probability theory, statistics, and machine learning;

– have excellent programming skills in at least two of the following languages: C, C++, Java, Python, or Perl;

– enjoy working with real-world problems and real-word, large data sets;

– have excellent communication skills, both oral and written;

– enjoy working in a closely collaborating team.

For specific questions you can get in touch with Christof Monz email: c.monz@uva.nl