PhD computational linguistics - news recommendation

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • PhD computational linguistics - news recommendation
  • University Graduate

Do you have expertise in computational linguistics and are you higly motivated and enthousiastic about the topic of analyzing news articles for recommendation systems with the goal of nudging users towards more diverse news consumption? Then please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). 

Location: AMSTERDAM

FTE: 0.8 - 1


Job description

In this project, an interdisciplinary team consisting of experts from Law, Computational Linguistics, Computer Science and Communication Science will study how recommendations and presentation choices can optimize the diversity of consumed news. Will you help us fix the way news is spread in the 21st century?

Specifically, in this project you will work on applying NLP technologies that can identify similarities and differences between news articles.

See http://ccs.amsterdam/projects/rethinking-news-algorithms/ for more details on the project. When contacting us with questions (see below for contacting details), please name the project and vacancy number in the subject of your email.

Where current algorithms mainly aim for finding things that are similar to prior consumption, we envision algorithms that optimize between sufficient diversity to keep users well informed and sufficient similarity so that the user is triggered to read (and be satisfied with) the offer. Together with law (ethics) and communication science experts, you will dive various dimensions of diversity (ranging from a different view on a specific event or political decision to diversity in topics in general) and aim to design language models that can identify articles that strike the desired balance between diversity and connection.

Your duties

  • conduct reproducible computational linguistic experiments on language models for diversifying recommendation systems
  • write research articles and present your work, which is to culminate in a successful dissertation, at international conferences 
  • collaborate with the other junior and senior researchers on the team experience in or affinity with working in an interdisciplinary team
  • organize small events such as workshops and colloquia


Requirements

  • master degree in computational linguistics or a related field (e.g. Artificial Intelligence or Computer Science with focus on NLP)
  • solid programming skills
  • experience in or affinity with working in an interdisciplinary team
  • fluent verbal communication and good writing skills in English
  • knowledge of Dutch is an advantage (but not strictly necessary) 


What are we offering?

The research will be carried in a great interdisciplinary team containing experts from computational linguistics, philosophy, law, computer science and communication science. You will become part of a renown computational linguistics lab (www.cltl.nl), headed by Spinoza laureat Prof. dr. Piek Vossen. The lab is embedded in the gravity project Hybrid Intelligence offering plenty of opportunity to collaborate with reseachers of various universities across the Netherlands on fundamental aspects around collaborate, adaptive, responsible and explainable AI. In this context, you will receive joint supervision by dr. Antske Fokkens (VU) and dr. Suzan Verberne (Leiden University).


General Employment Conditions

The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,325 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €2,972 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended into a total duration of 4 years (or 5 years in case of a 0.8 fte contract).

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavour – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity
We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

Faculty of Humanities
The Faculty of Humanities links a number of fields of study: Language, Literature and Communication, Art & Culture, History, Antiquities and Philosophy. Our teaching and research focus on current societal and scientific themes: from artificial intelligence to visual culture, from urbanization to the history of slavery, from ‘fake news’ in journalism to communication in organizations. We strive to ensure small group sizes. Innovative education and interdisciplinary research are our hallmarks.

Working at the Faculty of Humanities means making a real contribution to the quality of leading education and research in an inspiring and personal work and study climate. We employ more than 250 staff members, and we are home to around 1,300 students.

Application

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload
  • your curriculum vitae (including code repository, if available)
  • academic transcripts (including grades)
  • a cover letter with motivation for your application 
until June 1, 2020.

The job interviews are currently planned to take place in the second half of June 2020, most likely they will take place online.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: dr. Antske Fokkens
Position: Associate Professor
E-mail: antske.fokkens@vu.nl

Please mention `news recommender project' explicitly in the subject line of your email when asking questions about this position

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