Our group — the Intelligent Systems Group at the University of Siegen in Germany — seeks to hire 1 Ph.D. student or 1 postdoctoral researcher, senior research fellow respectively. You will work on the topic of automated algorithm-selection for recommender systems. As such you should have a strong interest in both, recommender systems and automated algorithm selection, automated machine learning (AutoML) respectively. 

Automated Algorithm Selection, Configuration, and Design refers to the process of automatically selecting, tuning, and potentially designing novel algorithms for recommender-systems. Related areas are automated machine learning (AutoML), meta-learning, optimization, and neural architecture search (NAS). Your work would have a strong focus on the application side, and/or on the theoretical/algorithm side. For instance, you might develop novel tools for automated recommender systems (AutoRecSys), similar to automated machine learning libraries like Auto-sklearn. And/Or, you may adopt existing methods from AutoML or related disciplines to recommender systems (e.g. Siamese Neural Networks). If you have a strong Math background — which is a plus, but not a must — you can dig even deeper into the algorithmic part. 

Whether you will be a Ph.D. student or a postdoctoral researcher, you will join a great team, and benefit from our close supervision. Yet, we’ll leave you enough freedom to develop your creativity and pursue your own ideas. We will support you in publishing in high-impact venues throughout your Ph.D./PostDoc, and you will benefit from our international network and experience. Besides conducting research, you may join exciting industry projects, participate in our projects and business start-ups (e.g. Recommender-Systems.com, and Darwin & Goliath), or do your own business start-up. We are highly supportive, also financially, when it comes to research visits abroad e.g. at our partner institutes in Tokyo (the National Institute of Informatics) or Ireland (Trinity College Dublin). Especially during the Coronavirus pandemic, you will have flexible working hours, if needed from home, and excellent health insurance. Last, but not least, we will soon have new offices with plenty of space and an amazing view from the 8th floor to the valley of Siegen. 

Finally, you will get all the resources that it takes to conduct world-class research. This includes a generous budget for equipment and travel budget; support through (paid) student workers; and access to the high-performance CPU/GPU cluster of the University of Siegen, consisting of

  • 434 nodes in the regular HPC partition, which are equipped with AMD CPUs of type EPYC 7452 and 256 GB of RAM each.
  • OpenStack and Kubernetes partitions (8 and 5 nodes respectively).
  • 2 SMP nodes, each with 4 Intel Xeon 5218 CPUs (Cascade Lake) and 1.5 TB RAM.
  • 10 GPU nodes with a total of 24 Nvidia GPUs type Tesla V100 (4×4, 2×2, 4×1 GPUs per node)
  • Storage capacity of 1 Petabyte of primary hard drive space with a burst buffer of SSDs (32 Terabytes) and 48 TB of Object Storage space. 

In addition, we will soon buy our own mini-GPU cluster consisting of NVIDIA’s RTX 3080 or 3090 GPUs. 

As a Ph.D. student, you will be hired for 4-5 years as an employee of the University Siegen on the TVL13 scale. For the first three years, you will be hired at 90% with a gross salary of around 44.000€ pa*. This translates into a monthly net income of around 2100€*. In the fourth and potentially fifth year, you would be hired at 75% – 100%, depending on performance. The yearly gross salary would then be between €40.000* and €55.000*. All options include excellent health insurance and pension contributions as well as sick leave, and paid vacation. Both Bachelor’s and Master’s students may apply. Please note that Ph.D. students have the obligation to support lectures with around 4 contact hours per week. At the University of Siegen, you will do a cumulative dissertation instead of a monograph. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of a cumulative dissertation, we are happy to explain and discuss the details with you. 

Postdoctoral researchers will be hired for up to 4.5 years on the TVL-13 or TVL-14 scale, depending on experience. The maximum possible gross income (TVL14, Point 6) would be €77k pa*, though most postdoctoral researchers would likely earn between €48k* and €65k*. Again, all options include health insurance, pension, sick leave, and paid vacation. Please note that postdoctoral researchers are expected to support lectures with around 4-6 contact hours per week.

The University of Siegen ranks Top100 in the World’s Young Universities of the Times Higher World University Ranking. It has around 20,000 students across all disciplines and is located in the city of Siegen (100,000 pop.). Public transport is free for students and Siegen is surrounded by the ‘Siegerland’, one of Germany’s most beautiful areas for outdoor enthusiasts. You can go hiking, swimming, mountain biking, and just a few kilometers away you can go skiing in winter. Assuming that Covid-19 will pass, Siegen offers everything you may need including excellent pubs, theatres, shopping malls, and nightclubs as well as very good hospitals, schools, and child care if needed. Yet, life is surprisingly cheap in Siegen, and Germany in general. You may find a 1-bedroom apartment (40-60 sqm) for 400-650 Euros per month (incl. utilities). If you want to share an apartment think of 200 to 350 Euros for a room — per week month. Groceries including alcohol are among the cheapest in Europe and things like restaurants, electronics, transport, insurances & banking, child care, health care are also very reasonably priced. And if all that is not enough then it’s only an hour to get to Cologne, Germany’s best party city (right, Germany’s best party city is Cologne, not Berlin). Also, Düsseldorf, Bonn, and Frankfurt are close to Siegen.

A typical apartment in Siegen: A 2-room apartment (1 bed-room), 45m², balcony, good location, extra storage room (in the basement), and car park for €360 / month + utilities (approx. €140 incl. heating, excl. electricity).

There is no official job advertisement yet and all information provided here is subject to change. However, if you are interested in the position or have questions, contact Joeran Beel informally now and let us know the following details.

PhD Students & PostDocs

  1. Your current employer/university: 
  2. Earliest/Prefered/Latest possible start date:
  3. Your experience in Machine Learning:
  4. Your experience in Recommender Systems, or Information Retrieval:
  5. Your experience in AutoML, algorithm selection, optimization, meta-learning, NAS etc.:
  6. Industry Experience: 
  7. Any notable contributions to software projects e.g. on GitHub?
  8. Any noteworthy awards?
  9. Your Motivation / Why do you want to join our group or work on automated algorithm-selection:
  10. Anything else you would like to tell us about yourself?
  11. Your questions for us: 

Ph.D. Students Only

  1. Have you already published? If yes, please provide details:
  2. What’s the final grade of your Master’s degree?
  3. In what percentage do you rank among your graduation class (e.g. Top 1%; Top 5%; Top 20%; …): 
  4. Your Math, Python, and Writing skills: 
  5. If you have a specific idea for a project please let us know [optional]

PostDocs Only

  1. Your Google Scholar profile
  2. Your Top-3 publications in the past 3 years (URLs to full text, please do not attach the publications)
  3. Your two most successful student supervisions (Master or Ph.D. students) 
  4. Acquired Funding
  5. Teaching Experience
  6. Your research vision / project proposal

We will get back to you as soon as possible, and just in case you wonder: it is not necessary to speak German to work at the University of Siegen, but if you would like to learn German, the University offers great and free language courses.

* all numbers related to salaries are provided to the best of our knowledge and based on https://oeffentlicher-dienst.info/. We cannot guarantee the correctness of the numbers.

Joeran Beel

Please visit https://isg.beel.org/people/joeran-beel/ for more details about me.


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