Current vacancies

2 PhD candidates on the project SEQUOIA: Smart maintenance optimization via big data & fault tree analysis

Job description

The Database and Formal Methods & Tools groups at the University of Twente seek two PhD candidates for SEQUOIA: Smart maintenance optimization via big data & fault tree analysis, a project funded by the Dutch Technology Foundation STW, and the companies ProRail and NS. ProRail is responsible for the Dutch railway network, including its construction, management, maintenance, and safety; NS has the same responsibility for the Dutch train fleed. The project is led by Dr. Mariëlle Stoelinga, Prof.dr. Joost-Pieter Katoen and Dr. Djoerd Hiemstra.

SEQUOIA aims to improve the reliability of the Dutch railroads by deploying big data analytics to predict and prevent failures. Its scientific core is a novel combination of machine learning, fault tree analysis and stochastic model checking. Key idea is that big data analytics provide the statistics on failures, their correlations, dependencies etc. and fault trees provide the domain knowledge needed to interpret these data. The project outcome aims at fewer train disruptions and delays, lower maintenance cost and more passenger comfort.

The project involves an intense cooperation with the RWTH Aachen University and with various engineers from ProRail and NS. The PhD candidates will spend a portion of their time at the ProRail / NS sites in Utrecht.

Key project deliverables are efficient analysis algorithms and a workable tool to be used in the ProRail context. For more information about the project, see:

Your profile

The candidate should have an MSc degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, Data Science or an equivalent qualification.

We seek one candidate with a background in data science and big data analytics. He or she should have a thorough background in (predictive) modeling, have ample experience with software development and tools (e.g. R, python, Hadoop, , Hyve, Jupyter, Zeppelin) and/or industrial case studies. Speaking Dutch, or the ability to learn it fast is a prerequisite. 

We seek another candidate with a background in formal methods or reliability engineering. The ideal candidate has a thorough theoretical background, and should have ample experience with software development and/or industrial case studies.

Further we ask for good communication and collaboration skills.

Our offer

The University of Twente offers excellent working conditions, an exciting scientific environment, and a green and lively campus. We offer

  • A PhD position for four years (38 hrs/week).
  • Full status as an employee at the University of Twente, including pension and health care benefits. Gross salary PhD student: ranging from € 2191 (1st year) to € 2801 (4th year) per month, plus holiday allowance (8%) and end-of-year bonus (8.3%).
  • Excellent facilities for professional and personal development.
  • Good secondary conditions, in accordance with the collective labour agreement CAO-NU for Dutch universities.
  • A green and lively campus, with lots of sports facilities and other activities

Further information:

FMT group:

- Dr. Marielle Stoelinga (
- Prof. dr. Joost-Pieter Katoen (
- Dr. D. Hiemstra (

Starting date of the position: as soon as possible after April 1, 2017.

The PhD student will participate in the Twente Graduate School on Dependable and Secure Computing, led by Prof.dr. Jaco van de Pol. This research programme offers advanced courses to deepen your scientific knowledge. Participation in national and/or international summer schools, conference and workshops, as well as visits to other prestigious research institutes and universities are also foreseen.

To apply for one of these positions, please include

  • a cover letter (explain your specific interest and qualifications);
  • a full Curriculum Vitae
  • a list of all courses + grades, and a short description of your MSc thesis project
  • references (contact information) of two scientific staff members

Please submit your application via before February 1, 2017.

In the period of December 24th. 2016 until January 3rd 2017 the University will be closed. Your requests for information by e-mail will not be answered.

The organization

The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which drives change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university in the Netherlands; divided over six faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. The University of Twente has a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out pioneering research.

The faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) comprises three disciplines that shape Information and Communication Technology. ICT is more than communication. In almost every product we use mathematics, electronics and computer technology and ICT now contributes to all of societies' activities. The faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders. The research which enjoys a high profile both at home and internationally, has been accommodated in the multidisciplinary research institutes MESA+, CTIT and MIRA.

2 PhD candidates on the project SEQUOIA: Smart maintenance optimization via big data & fault tree analysis
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