PhD position in CS & AI on Algorithms for the Dutch Railways

Research / Academic

PhD position in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at Delft University of Technology in a challenging project on algorithms for scheduling under uncertainty, and making these work for the Dutch Railways (NS)

Are you interested in developing new algorithms, extending state-of-the-art AI techniques, and prepared to take-on a real-life problem involving trains?

Join us in a team that considers the operational scheduling of matching arriving train units at a yard to departures, and their routing, shunting, cleaning and maintenance and repair. Given the time tables of the involved railway companies, a plan has to be made for this rolling stock as well as for the people involved. As the number of train units grows, these plans will need to use all resources available (tracks, people), which makes the problem of finding feasible plans more and more difficult.

The main tasks for the PhD student are to work on algorithms and artificial intelligence techniques from the fields of constraint programming, mathematical optimisation, evolutionary algorithms and/or reinforcement learning to solve such scheduling problems, and to deepen our understanding of these techniques and how they can be successfully combined.

You’ll become part of the Algorithmics research group at Delft University of Technology. In this group, we aim to design, and understand fundamental properties of, planning and coordination algorithms for intelligent decision making in real world applications, such as for predictive maintenance scheduling, coordinating electrical loads within network constraints, or logistic processes on a container terminal. We aim to understand how to build predictive models from data that facilitate effective planning and scheduling algorithms dealing with uncertainty; and how to effectively incorporate behaviour and preferences of stakeholders in the decision-making process. You will also join the respective research group at the NS (in Utrecht) for about two days a week.   


We are looking for excellent candidates who meet the following requirements:

  • a MSc degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Mathematics, Operations Research, or a closely related field;
  • affinity with interdisciplinary work;
  • good programming skills;
  • good English speaking and writing skills.    

Salary Benefits:

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.     

Work Hours:

38 - 40 hours per week


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