Umeå University, department of Computing Science

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Wallenberg Artificial Intelligence Program Postdoctoral Position
Research topic: Software Engineering Methods for Responsible Artificial Intelligence

Umeå University, the Department of Computing Science, is seeking outstanding candidates for a Wallenberg Autonomous Systems Program (WASP) Postdoc position in Computer Science with focus on social aware AI. Deadline for application is June 30, 2019.

The Department of Computing Science is a dynamic environment with around 100 employees representing more than 20 countries worldwide. We conduct education and research on a broad range of topics in Computing Science. The Socially Aware Artificial Intelligence group (led by prof. Frank Dignum) conducts research into AI systems that start from the premise that AI is used in social contexts and should be aware of the social consequences of its behaviour. For this purpose the group investigates (formal) models of social concepts and their implementation in AI systems ranging from social robots to social simulations and multi-agent systems. The group collaborates with several national and international research groups, and has active links with industry and policy organisations For more information on Frank Dignum see

The project is part of the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP), Sweden’s largest ever individual research program, and a major national initiative for strategic basic research, education and faculty recruitment. The program is initiated and generously funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW) with 2.6 billion SEK. In addition to this, the program receives support from collaborating industry and from participating universities to form a total budget of 3.5 billion SEK. Major goals are more than 50 new professors and more than 300 new PhDs within AI, Autonomous Systems and Software. The vision of WASP is excellent research and competence in artificial intelligence, autonomous systems and software for the benefit of Swedish industry. For more information about the research and other activities conducted within WASP please visit

Research project
In order to create socially aware AI systems we need a good understanding and computational models of social reality. I.e. we need to know how things like norms, conventions, organizations, etc. influence the behaviour of individuals and how they are adapted by their use as well. Computational models of these social concepts will thus contain at least aspects related to their influence on the decision making of individual agents, but also on how individuals shape these social concepts through their behaviour. Both of these aspects have to be incorporated and linked in the computational model.

The aim of this project is to develop multi-agent systems in which the agents are influenced by norms and other social rules, while learning from their experience using these social concepts and thus also slowly shaping new norms and conventions. The theoretical foundations will be based on existing work from our group, but especially the interaction between learning behaviour and social rules is to be explored. In order to test the usability of the developed models we aim to have at least one use case related to social simulation for policy making.

About the position
The successful applicant will be employed by Umeå University and receive a competitive salary for a period of two years of full time work. Postdocs are typically offered the opportunity to gain teaching experience on suitable undergraduate courses. Expected starting date is 1st of September 2019 or as otherwise agreed.

Admission requirements

Applicants must have earned a PhD or a foreign degree that is deemed equivalent to a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science or a subject relevant for the position. The PhD degree should not be more than three years old by the application deadline, unless special circumstances exist.

Candidates are expected to have very good knowledge formal logics and Machine Learning techniques (preferably reinforcement learning). Demonstrable knowledge of multi-agent systems and agent based simulation or social robotics is a prerequisite. In particular, candidates should be well acquainted with modelling and implementing social concepts like norms and conventions.

We particularly invite female candidates to apply to ensure gender balance.
Since research is conducted in an international research environment, the ability to collaborate and contribute to teamwork, and a very good command of the English language, both written and spoken, are key requirements.


A complete application should contain the following documents:
• Introductory letter including a 2-page statement of research interests relative to the above topics and a motivation of why your expertise is appropriate for the position.
• Curriculum Vitae (CV) including a complete list of scientific publications.
• Copies of degree certificates, including documentation of completed academic courses and obtained grades
• A copy of your PhD thesis and copies of (max 5) original research publications relevant to the above topics, numbered according to the publication list.
• Names and contact information for three persons willing to act as references.
• Any other information relevant for the position such as description of software development experience, or previous industry experience.

The application must be written in English or Swedish, and attached documents must be written in or translated to English or Swedish. Documents must be in Word or pdf format. Applications must be submitted electronically using the e-recruitment system of Umeå University, and be received no later than June 30, 2019. Reference number: AN 2.2.1-408-19. Log on to the system and apply via the button at the bottom of the web page.

As we strive for a more balanced gender distribution within the department, we encourage women as applicants.
For additional information, please contact Prof. Frank Dignum

We look forward to receiving your application!

Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
Contract type Full time
First day of employment 1 September or otherwise agreed
Salary Monthly
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100
City Umeå
County Västerbottens län
Country Sweden
Reference number AN 2.2.1-408-19
  • Frank Dignum, Professor, 090- 786 91 01
Union representative
  • SACO, 090-786 53 65
  • SEKO, 090-786 52 96
  • ST, 090-786 54 31
Published 16.Apr.2019
Last application date 30.Jun.2019 11:59 PM CET

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