Jobs at ML Freiburg

In the context of Frank’s ERC grant on automated deep learning, we have several open positions for outstanding candidates in our lab at ML Freiburg, on all of these levels:

  • Postdocs
  • PhD students
  • Research engineers

Topics of particular interest to the group include AutoML, neural architecture search, learning to learn, meta-learning, Bayesian optimization, performance prediction, principled empirical evaluation, and optimization of neural networks.

Application materials comprise:

  • CV
  • Full set of transcripts
  • Research statement
    • Briefly state what drives you and what are your goals in applying to ML Freiburg
  • At least 2 references
    • For each reference, please include name, title, and email address.
    • References should expect to be contacted for a reference letter.

Please send your application materials to ml-hiring@cs.uni-freiburg.de until August 15th, 2018.

Background:

Frank’s ERC grant. This grant of 1.5 million Euros ($1.76 million US) is given for a project on automated deep learning: transforming deep learning from somewhat of an art to a principled engineering science. This involves efficient neural architecture search, hyperparameter optimization, deep reinforcement learning to learn better neural networks optimizers, and a substantial component on understanding the performance of deep learning using a data-driven approach. In general, ERC grants are Europe’s most prestigious funding instrument, focused purely on an excellence-based approach to science. As stated in a recent Nature article, the ERC has helped Europe to “surpass the United States in terms of the most-cited scientific publications” and is “recognized as the best in the world in the way it supports fundamental research”.

The ML Freiburg group. Currently comprising 2 postdocs and 7 PhD students, ML Freiburg focuses on the topics of Frank’s ERC grant, and general automated algorithm design using ML in general. The group has won both international AutoML challenges held so far (2015-2016 and 2017-2018), with ever-improving versions of its widely-used open-source tool Auto-sklearn. Frank co-started the AutoML workshop series in 2014 and has been co-chairing it every year since. He also co-started the workshop series on Bayesian optimization (since 2011) and meta-learning (since 2017) and is co-editing an AutoML book. The group developed the best available out-of-the-box tool for efficient hyperparameter optimization of neural networks and is amongst the world’s leading groups in various meta-algorithmic problems, such as algorithm configuration and algorithm selection, which have led to world championship titles in SAT solving and AI planning.We collaborate closely with the other AI groups in Freiburg, especially Thomas Brox’ computer vision group, Wolfram Burgard’s robotics group, and Joschka Boedecker’s neurorobotics group. All of these groups are mostly working on deep learning and reinforcement learning these days, and we’re very excited to see great convergences and synergies resulting from this.

The University of Freiburg. Founded in 1457, the University of Freiburg is one of the oldest German universities and is now one of the nation’s leading research and teaching institutions, evidenced amongst others by it being one of the 23 members of the League of European Research Universities (LERU). It actively fosters interdisciplinary research (e.g., the Excellence cluster BrainLinks-BrainTools, which, amongst others, researches on deep learning for neuroscience), and it is one of the few universities offering world class research environments in the classical as well as in the modern disciplines. The university also successfully attracted the highest third-party funding per-professor in all of Germany.

Living in Freiburg. Founded in 1120, Freiburg is a lovely city with about 220.000 inhabitants in the very south west of Germany, about 30 minutes from both France and Switzerland. It is sunny, laid-back, and known for its charme and quality of life. As the gate to the Black Forest, Freiburg offers many outdoor activities, such as mountain biking, hiking, and skiing. The city was Germany’s first to have a green major and in 2010, it was voted as the Academy of Urbanism’s European City of the Year in recognition of the exemplary sustainable urbanism it has implemented over the past several decades. The #1 mode of transportation is by bike. Life is good in Freiburg 🙂