netherlands: PhD positions for Logics/AI/CS/Mathematics background

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Two PhD positions are available in the Institute of Artificial Intelligence (ALICE), offered in collaboration with the department of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Groningen. The candidates will join the five-year Vidi project of Dr. Sonja Smets.

VIDI Project: ‘Reasoning about quantum interaction: Logical modelling and verification of multi-agent quantum protocols’:

As for classical computing, logic is expected to play an essential role in the understanding of quantum computation and quantum information, and especially in the formal verification of quantum communication protocols. Such multi-agent applications involve quantum information flow and classical knowledge transfer (by classical communication) between the agents. So one of our aims in the proposed VIDI research project is to develop the logical tools for modelling complex situations where different types of informational dynamics (classical and quantum) are combined. Our goal is to develop and use a combined classical-quantum logic for the full specification and formal verification of agent-based quantum protocols for secure communication. Towards this goal, we propose to use formalisms based on modal logic, especially combinations of dynamic (or temporal) logics and epistemic (or “spatial”) logics. But other logical formalisms, such as probabilistic logic, linear logic and coalgebraic logic (or categorical logic, in general), may also turn out to be useful in this context.

Two PhD positions are linked to this project. The first PhD position has the task of studying from a logical perspective the role of classical knowledge transfer in known protocols such as e.g. Teleportation, Super Dense Coding and Quantum Secret Sharing. The second PhD position is associated to the logical study of the (classical and quantum) information flow in protocols dealing with the anonymity of an agent’s identity such as the Quantum Dining Cryptographers and Quantum Electronic Voting.

The successful applicants are required to participate in the PhD programme at the University of Groningen (see and will be working under the daily supervision of Dr. S. Smets. The main focus of the appointment is on research, but can include moderate teaching duties in subjects relevant to the candidate’s research activities.


Candidates should have (or obtain before 1 September 2010) an excellent Masters degree in Logic, Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Philosophy, Mathematics or Physics. Fluent English is a prerequisite. We are looking for candidates with a strong interest in Logic (especially in any of the areas such as Modal Logic, Epistemic Logic, Dynamic Logic, Linear Logic, Categorical Logic or Quantum Logic) and in Quantum Information Theory or Quantum Computing.

Conditions of employment

The University of Groningen offers a salary of € 2,042 gross per month in the first year up to a maximum of € 2,612 gross per month in the fourth year. The full-time appointment is temporary for a specified period of four years.

The preferred starting date is 1 September 2010.

Contract type


Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

About the city and University of Groningen:
Groningen is a historic town and among the ten biggest cities in The Netherlands. It is a vibrant student town with a direct train connection to Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam. The University of Groningen (founded in 1614) has a long tradition of academic excellence, being one of the oldest research universities in Europe. Currently approximately 27,000 students are enrolled and every year about 250 PhD students defend their theses. It has a highly international character: English is the main language in the research laboratories.

Additional information

Dr. Sonja Smets
PhD programme

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