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AISB opportunities Bulletin Item

PhD student position on "Belief Propagation", THE NETHERLANDS
Contact: Bodo Manthey,

University of Twente


A full-time PhD position is available within the project

    Smoothed Analysis of Belief Propagation

in the group Discrete Mathematics and Mathematical Programming (DMMP) at the Department of Applied Mathematics. The project is funded by Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and is embedded in the University of Twente?s Centre for Telematics and Information Technology (CTIT), the largest academic ICT research institute in the Netherlands.


The successful candidate should have a Master's degree in Mathematics, Computer Science, Econometrics, or a related field. A solid background in Discrete Optimization, Theoretical Computer Science, or the Analysis of Algorithms is highly appreciated but not a must as the candidate will be given the opportunity to follow courses in the LNMB PhD program during her/his first year (see


We offer a 4-year research position in a dynamic and international environment. The DMMP group consists currently consists of 10 faculty members and 13 PhD students and is headed by Prof. Marc Uetz. Please see for more details. The University of Twente provides excellent campus facilities, and actively supports professional and personal development.


Belief propagation is a heuristic approach for solving large-scale statistical inference problems. It is an easy-to-implement heuristic has become very popular in a wide range of applications.
Its success in practice, however, is at sharp contrast to the lack of theoretical understanding of its performance. To provide a more realistic analysis of algorithms, the concept of smoothed analysis has been developed.
In smoothed analysis, performance is not measured in terms of worst-case instances. Instead, an adversary specifies an instance, and then the expected performance is measured when this instance is slightly randomly perturbed. Smoothed analysis takes into account that practical data is often noisy, e.g., due to measurement errors.
The aim of this project is smoothed analysis of belief propagation. The goal is to get a deeper understanding of its performance and to bridge the gap between theoretical and practical performance of belief propagation.


You are invited to send your application (including curriculum vitae, copies of certificates, and a letter of motivation) to as well as two letters of recommendation to the address below. Electronic submissions are highly encouraged (please attach relevant documents as PDF).

Deadline for applications is March 31, 2011. The letters of recommendation can be sent after the application, but not later than April 15, 2011. The intended starting date is late summer 2011.

Please do not hesitate to send any questions to the email given above.

    Bodo Manthey
    University of Twente
    Department of Applied Mathematics
    P.O. Box 217
    7500 AE Enschede
    The Netherlands
    Phone: +31 53 4893385