PhD position in Topological Data Analysis

Voor 0.8 - 1.0 fte
Vacaturenummer 18107
VU onderdeel: Extern

VUnet Vacatures afbeelding 08 Engels
The Department of Mathematics of the Faculty of Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, invites applications for a PhD position in Topological data analysis.
The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is a leading, innovative and growing university that is at the heart of society and actively contributes to new developments in teaching and research. Our university has nine faculties which span a wide range of disciplines, as well as several institutes, foundations, research centres, and support services. Its campus is located in the fastest-growing economic region in the Netherlands (the Zuidas district of Amsterdam), and provides work for over 4,500 staff and scientific education for more than 23,000 students.
Research at the Faculty of Science ( focuses on earth sciences, natural sciences and informatics, mathematics, life sciences, health sciences, and environmental sciences. At the international level, the faculty cooperates closely with leading scientific institutes and other partners. The faculty offers a range of high-quality BSc and MSc programs. World-class teaching and cutting-edge research activities go hand in hand.
Researchers at the Department of Mathematics are on the one hand active on a fundamental and theoretical level, and on the other hand also work in an applied and practical environment with links to many sciences and societal issues. Also in our analysis group, pure mathematical research is balanced with mathematical research motivated by applications.
The department offers bachelor and master programs in mathematics and in business analytics, as well as a master program in stochastics and financial mathematics. In addition, the department provides mathematics courses for other programs of the Faculty of Science, for programs of other faculties in the university, and for the Amsterdam University College.
The position
The department welcomes applications for the position of a PhD student to work on the mathematical foundations of topological data analysis. The PhD student will work under the supervision of Magnus Bakke Botnan. The PhD position is co-funded by the national science foundation NWO.
Topological data analysis is a modern approach to data analysis in which topological signatures describe qualitative features of the data at hand. Persistent homology is one of the most prominent such tools. In short, persistent homology takes as input a single-parameter filtration of a topological space, and outputs a collection of intervals describing the evolution of the topological features as the scale parameter increases. This tool has found a wide range of applications throughout the sciences and perhaps most notably to neuroscience. A natural generalization is that of multi-parameter persistent homology, in which the data is filtered along multiple parameters. In doing so, the mathematical complexity of the underlying construction increases significantly and the applicability of this approach has been largely unexplored. However, given its huge potential, it is one of the major challenges of topological data analysis to come up with efficacious descriptors for multi-parameter persistent homology.
The PhD student will work on multi-parameter persistent homology. The precise focus of the research project will be adapted to the interests and background of the successful candidate. You will publish your results in quality peer-reviewed journals in the field, culminating in a PhD thesis to be defended in public.  Besides doing research towards writing a PhD thesis, students spend about 15% of their time on teaching, which typically consists of supervising exercise classes and correcting homework.
The candidate must be talented, ambitious and highly motivated, in possession of a MSc. degree in mathematics, physics, or a related area. Candidates should have a strong demonstrable background in mathematics. Knowledge of algebraic topology is an advantage but not a requirement. In addition, we require proficiency in reading and writing of scientific manuscripts in English.
Further particulars
The appointment will be initially for one year. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, it can be extended to a total duration of 4 years.
The VU offers a broad and attractive package of employment conditions. The employment contract is governed by the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) for Dutch universities. Staff members with a full-time contract (38 hours per week) are entitled to 29 days off. The VU also offers a good pension scheme via ABP.  Further information about our employment conditions can be found on
The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and amounts to  
€ 2.222,- gross per month in the first year up to € 2.840,- in the fourth year (salary scale 85) based on a full-time employment. In addition, VU-employees receive annual holiday pay and an end-of-year bonus (each roughly equal to one month of salary gross).
For additional information please contact:
Ms. Marielle van der Aa
phone: +31 20 5987700
Candidates with a (prospective) MSc degree in Mathematics (or an equivalent thereof) with excellent results are encouraged to apply. The project preferably starts in the Fall of 2018. Please include a CV, a list of courses and grades at the MSc level, a (draft) MSc thesis if available, and the names and e-mail addresses of one or two references. You can send your application on or before 15 April 2018 to Marielle van der Aa (