Two PhD students in natural language processing (computational creativity) W/M

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  • Subsidiary :  Computation, Cognition & Language

  • Contract type:  Fixed-Term contract

  • Work time:  Full time

  • Location Martigny

About Idiap

Idiap is an independent, not-for-profit, research institute recognized and funded by the Swiss Federal Government, the State of Valais, and the City of Martigny, and is academically affiliated with EPFL and University of Geneva.

Idiap is located in the town of Martigny in Valais, a scenic region in the south of Switzerland, surrounded by the highest mountains of Europe, and offering exceptional quality of life, exciting recreational activities, including hiking, climbing and skiing, as well as varied cultural activities. It is within close proximity to Lausanne and Geneva. Although Idiap is located in the French part of Switzerland, English is the official working language. Free French lessons are also provided on a complimentary basis.

For frequently asked questions (FAQs) about living in Switzerland, please go to

Job description

The Computation, Cognition, and Language Group is looking for two PhD students to work on the topic of language-driven computational creativity for a duration of 4 years.

Creativity is an important cognitive ability that helps us adapt to new situations, find solutions to problems and innovate. Traces of creative processes can be found in large corpora, for example, we find formulations of new (scientific) ideas, and new concepts are created every day. It is a complex and underexposed topic in NLP, but a perfect testbed for measuring the generalisation power and levels of abstraction that current NLP systems are able to reach.

The C-LING project (funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation) aims to build computational models for a range of creative tasks from novel concept generation to the generation of more structured, complex ideas, such as scientific discoveries, with cross-lingual and cross-domain approaches. Models will be based on neural representations of language in combination with structured knowledge bases, informed by insights from cognitive science.

Sought profile

You should hold, or expect to obtain before the start of your appointment, a four or five-year Bachelors's or Master's degree with a background in computer science, communication systems, electrical engineering, mathematics, physics and/or related fields (admissible to the EDIC Doctoral School of the EPFL). You should also have a strong interest in pursuing fundamental research; have good programming skills, experience with machine learning and deep learning methods for NLP, and have proficiency in spoken and written English.

Candidates will become PhD students at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), contingent upon admission by its competitive Doctoral School, and will be co-supervised by Prof. Lonneke van der Plas (Idiap) and Prof. Antoine Bosselut (EPFL). Candidates will be located at Idiap. Annual gross salary starts at 52,400 CHF (first year).

Interested candidates are invited to submit a cover letter naming the specific position of interest and explaining the suitability of their profile, a detailed CV, and the names of three references.

Idiap offers competitive salaries and conditions at all levels in a young, high-quality, dynamic, and multicultural environment. Idiap is an equal opportunity employer and is actively involved in the "Advancement of Women in Science" European initiative. The Institute seeks to maintain a principle of open competition (on the basis of merit) to appoint the best candidate, provides equal opportunity for all candidates, and equally encourage both genders to apply. Employment at Idiap is thus based solely on a person's merit and qualifications directly related to professional competence. Idiap does not discriminate against any employee or applicant because of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin, disability, age, marital status, pregnancy, or any other basis protected by law.

Réf: 9b48e26c-80b2-4da9-89b4-8d9ae69370e9

This position has been filled.

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