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Freiburg-Hannover

Jobs at ML Hannover

Main building of the Leibniz University Hannover

We are looking for new team members for our AutoML group at the Leibniz University Hannover. These can be either:

  • PhD student
  • PostDoc

The focus of the new positions will be either on:

  1. the intersection of AutoML and interpretable machine learning (this will be part of Marius’ ERC grant)
  2. Auto-PyTorch as generic framework for automated deep learning

A promising candidate should have the following mandatory skills:

  • An excellent first academic degree in artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer science, statistics or a related discipline.
  • A solid understanding and hands-on experience with machine learning and/or deep learning
  • Advanced programming skills in Python
  • Solid skills in scientific writing (shown by an excellent master thesis for PhD candidates, or published papers for PostDocs)

Further (optional) beneficial skills can include:

  • AutoML
  • Hyperparameter optimization
  • Neural architecture search
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Interpretable machine learning
  • Meta-Learning and transfer learning
  • Bayesian optimization
  • Algorithm configuration 
  • Algorithm selection
  • Evolutionary strategies

The concrete future research topic has to be in the field of AutoML.

The salary scale for full-time positions is TV-L E13 (with a monthly gross salary between 4000 EUR and 4600 EUR, depending on experience and previous position).

Application materials comprise:

  • CV
  • Full set of transcripts
  • Earliest, preferred and latest possible start date
  • Brief statement of what drives you to do research in the field of AutoML, and what are your goals in applying at AutoML Hannover (at most 1 page); don’t hand in a generic motivation letter!
  • At least 2 references (only for PostDocs!)
    • For each reference, please include name, title, and email address.
    • References should expect to be contacted for a reference letter.

Please submit these documents as a single PDF to lindauer@tnt.uni-hannover.de. (Please note that this job call closes without further notice as soon as we have found a promising candidate.)

Our group is dedicated to promoting diversity. All qualified applications will be considered without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnic backgrounds, disability, age or other protected features.

Additional Information

Why AutoML Hannover? The group was founded in 2019 and is growing since then. We are a diverse group with strong feelings for the mission of AutoML: democratization of machine learning by supporting developers and users in efficiently creating new AI applications. We do a mix between basic and applied research with funded projects from industry, DFG, BMBF, BMWI and ERC. In particular, the ERC starting grant from Prof. Lindauer enables the group to open up new exciting research directions with excellent long-term funding. With several of his prior groups, Prof. Lindauer won many international, prestigious competitions, such as ASP and SAT competitions, AutoML competition and black-box optimization for hyperparameter optimization. Besides publications at top-tier venues, open-source is at the heart of the research group, leading to increased visibility, improved reproducibility and fair research. See video below for more details.

Why Hannover? Hannover is at the center of Germany. Although Hannover is one of the greenest cities in Germany, it has an (undeserved) underdog image. As the capitol of Lower Saxony, you can find in Hannover everything you are looking for, incl. concerts, museums, a big zoo, and all kinds of events and shopping opportunities — if there is no COVID pandemic. If you think this is not enough, you can take the train to go to Hamburg or Berlin within 1h and 30min.

Why the Leibniz University Hannover (LUH)? The LUH is neither one of these very young universities, nor one of these very old universities. It goes back to 1831 and these days it combines the best of both worlds by having 87 degree courses, roughly 30 000 students, being funded with more than 500 Mio Euro each year, and having more than 300 professors from all kinds of disciplines (source). Our faculty of electrical engineering and computer science combines the expertise in the most important areas for digitization. Close-by companies, such as the car manufacturer VW, also allow to transfer research insights into relevant practical solutions and make it easy to find jobs after graduation.

Why AI at the LUH? The the computer science department at the LUH with a special focus on AI combines the expertise from different groups on machine learning, deep learning, big data analysis, game playing, computer vision, NLP, bias, interpretability, computer-human interfaces, medical image processing, …, and of course automated machine learning. With being part at the L3S center, collaborations with more than 100 researchers from numerous countries working on AI-related questions are possible. We always aim for state-of-the-art research at an international scale by publishing at the top international conferences and journals.

Why a PhD in Germany? First of all and in contrast to many non-EU countries, paid holidays (~30 days per year), paid sick leave, paid parental leave and health insurance are included. Furthermore,  in contrast to many other countries, you will receive a fairly good salary (see 100% E13 for Phd students and E14 for PostDocs), which is even competitive with the salary for a young researcher or research engineer at big tech companies in Germany. Furthermore, you will have fairly little obligations: besides doing your research, you can roughly expect to support the group and the institute one day per week (e.g., teaching) and depending on the funding of your contract, one day for working on a specific project (which will synergize with your PhD topic). So, you can work on your own (AutoML-related) research at least 60% of your time — much more than in most other countries. If you are a PostDoc, you can even apply for your own grant money (e.g., via DFG) and start your own research group.

How are AutoML Freiburg and Hannover connected? Everything started in Freiburg in 2013. After Prof. Lindauer got a call to join the Leibniz University Hannover in 2019, the second AutoML group was founded. Nevertheless, both groups are still very well connected with joint weekly research talks, joint project collaborations and yearly joint retreats. So, joining one of the teams will get you also very well connected to the other team.

What are the steps of the application process? We first check your documents (with a focus on the motivation letter). If your documents show promise, we will ask you to solve an AutoML-related coding task to show us that you can implement basic AutoML and ML/DL ideas. If that is also satisfying, we will have a roughly 2h interview (either on-site or virtual) checking your understanding of different topics and your expectations for this job. The last step is a short research presentation (e.g., about your master thesis topic) and a meeting with the entire group. You can expect that this process requires between 1 and 2 months before we can make the final decision whether to give you an offer or not. Please note that for PostDoc applications, there are shortcuts for this process depending on prior experience.

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