Do you want to help computers see, understand, and assist us, humans, in our everyday life? Are you excited with artificial intelligence (AI), mixed reality (MR), 3D spatial computing, 3D human avatars and the “metaverse”? Do you aspire to conduct internationally-visible research in one of the world’s most exciting cities? We search for a strong PhD candidate to push together the state of the art!
Humans constantly interact with objects, spaces and other humans to perform tasks. This is reflected in the photos and videos that we upload on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or that we capture through smart glasses (Microsoft’s HoloLens, Meta’s Aria). Our long-term goal is to develop human-centered AI that accurately perceives humans from images while performing tasks, and assists them in these. This is important for Ambient Intelligence, Virtual Assistants, Human-Computer and Human-Robot Interaction, and Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR).
To this end, we first need to “make sense” of the observed scene, i.e., to model how people, objects, and spaces look, to estimate their shape and pose, to infer their semantics and spatial relationships, and to do all of these in 3D, as our bodies and world are also 3D. Think of this as “mirroring” the observed scene, with the humans and objects contained in it, to a “replica” virtual scene with 3D humans and objects. This holistic 3D reconstruction (or 4D over time) endows computers with the ability to recognize what is in the scene, infer the state of humans and objects, and analyze the semantic and spatial configuration of the observed scene and action.
Although for humans this perceptual capability seems effortless, for computers this has proven to be hard. Challenges exist at all levels of abstraction, from the ill-posed 3D inference from 2D images, to the semantic interpretation of it.
Among others, this project involves challenges like:
- Reconstructing deformable 3D human bodies and hands from single-/multi-view images;
- Reconstructing additionally 3D physical objects from single-/multi-view images;
- Dealing with the strong occlusions during realistic human-object interactions;
- Representing (possibly through “learning”) the spatial relations (e.g., proximal distances, contact, penetration) and semantics (e.g., affordances) of human-object interactions;
- Accounting for the low-data regime – possible directions: collecting novel datasets for training and evaluation, weakly-supervised approaches, optimization-based approaches;
- Extending 3D reconstruction over time (4D);
- Potentially using the above to develop novel pose/motion generation methods.
These are hot research problems for both academia and industry with no signs of slowing down. For representative papers see at dtzionas.com the tabs “projects” and “publications”.
Each project in this PhD can be tailored to the aligned interests between the PhD candidate and the advisors. The goal is fundamental research to push the state of the art, publish at top-tier venues, release data and code useful for the community, and introduce new research problems.
What are you going to do
Your tasks and responsibilities will be to:
- Develop and evaluate new methods at the intersection of (3D) computer vision, computer graphics and machine learning, within the project context described above;
- Collaborate with other researchers in the Computer Vision (CV) lab and in the University of Amsterdam (UvA), as well as (inter-)nationally;
- Complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years;
- Regularly present intermediate research results at top-tier international conferences and workshops, and publish them in proceedings and journals;
- Provide a reviewing service for top-tier conferences and journals;
- Develop exciting demos for both the research community and for public outreach;
- Assist in relevant teaching activities, e.g., lectures, labs, co-advising BSc/MSc students.
You will be co-advised by Dimitrios Tzionas (DT) and Theo Gevers (TG). We work on the intersection of (3D) computer vision, graphics and machine learning. We publish at top international venues (CVPR, ICCV, ECCV, SIGGRAPH/TOG, IJCV, CVIU, TPAMI). We have expertise on statistical 3D models for human bodies/hands, and 3D human shape/pose and (inter-)action understanding from images. Recently, a paper co-authored by DT was a best-paper finalist at CVPR 2022, and two project-relevant startups of TG had a successful “exit”. A surrounding team within the CV lab of 7 senior researchers and 14 PhD students (and growing) are available for interactions and possible collaboration. Our strong international network (ELLIS society and beyond) can also lead to potential collaborations and/or internships.
What do you have to offer
Your experience and profile:
- A MSc degree (or equivalent) in Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mathematics, or a closely related field;
- A strong background in (3D) computer vision, graphics and machine learning;
- Excellent hands-on programming skills (preferably in Python and PyTorch);
- Solid mathematics skills (especially in statistics, calculus, linear algebra, 3D geometry);
- Strong communication, presentation and writing skills and excellent command of English;
- Working successfully both independently and in a team;
- Being highly self-motivated, creative, and thinking both critically and outside the box.
Any of the following is a plus, but not necessary:
- Hands-on experience with: AR/VR/MR/XR, 3D game/physics engines, 3D geometry processing, SLAM, numerical optimization (e.g., ceres), neural networks (e.g., PyTorch), robotics (e.g., control, path planning), GPU programming (e.g., CUDA);
- Scientific publications, internships, industrial experience, contributions in open-source projects, participation in (inter-)national student competitions (e.g., robocup).
A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). The preferred starting date is as soon as possible (ideally within 2022 or in early 2023). This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.
The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week, ranges between € 2,541 in the first year to € 3,247 in the last year (scale P). This does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8,3% year-end allowance the UvA offers. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.
Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at the Science Park of the University of Amsterdam we offer you multiple fringe benefits:
- 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January;
- Multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
- A complete educational program for PhD students;
- Multiple courses on topics such as time management, handling stress and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;
- 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;
- Partly paid parental leave;
- The possibility to set up a workplace at home;
- A pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
- The possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
- Help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you’re moving from abroad.
Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.
The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is the Netherlands’ largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.
The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.
The mission of the Informatics Institute (IvI) is to perform curiosity-driven and use-inspired fundamental research in Computer Science. The main research themes are Artificial Intelligence, Computational Science and Systems and Network Engineering. Our research involves complex information systems at large, with a focus on collaborative, data driven, computational and intelligent systems, all with a strong interactive component.
You will be working within the Computer Vision (CV) research group which focuses on studying core computer vision technologies and in particular colour processing, 3D reconstruction, object recognition, and human-behaviour analysis. The aim is to provide theories, representation models and computational methods which are essential for image and video understanding. Research ranges from image processing (filtering, feature extraction, reflection modeling, and photometry), invariants (color, descriptors, scene), image understanding (physics‐based, probabilistic), object recognition (classification and detection) to activity recognition with a focus on human‐behavior (eye tracking, facial expression, head pose, age and gender).
Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.
Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please send us an email, adding as recipients both:
If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. Official applications need to be submitted only via the button in this webpage. The full application deadline is 31 August 2022 (23:59 CET).
Applications should include the following (all files besides your CV should be submitted in one single PDF file):
- A detailed CV – please include:
- A rough starting date that you prefer;
- A list of publications (if applicable);
- A list of projects you have worked on with a brief description on your contribution;
- A link to your MSc thesis;
- A link to your GitHub profile (if applicable) highlighting the most important repo;
- Please note the months (not just the years) for your education and work experience.
- A combined motivation & research letter (max 2 pages) – explaining your motivation for this position, why you are a good fit for the project and a good addition to the team, what research problems and ideas excite you and what you want to achieve in the next years;
- The names and email addresses of two referees who can provide letters of recommendation. Please inform referees early on about the timeline, but do not include any letters; we will contact them.
Please make sure to provide ALL requested documents mentioned above.
You can use the CV field to upload your resume as a separate pdf document. Use the Cover Letter field to upload the other requested documents, including the motivation letter, as one single pdf file.
Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.
The interviews will be held in the second half of September 2022.
The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.
If you encounter Error GBB451/ GBC451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.