PhD Position in Rigorous Analysis of Local Search
University of Twente Department of Quantitative Economics

Maastricht University

Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 16,300 students and 4,300 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts six faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience. For more information, see

Maastricht University is committed to nurturing an inclusive culture and a welcoming atmosphere. This inclusiveness strategy has resulted in a very diverse representation of nationalities and cultures. We strongly believe that diversity (including, but not limited to nationality, age and gender) of the staff and student population will increase the quality of UM education & research. Fostering diversity and inclusivity creates an academic community where individual talents thrive, and values and differences are cherished. We strongly encourage you to apply if you are qualified for this position.

Job description

2 PhD positions in Rigorous Analysis of Local Search

Two PhD Position at University of Twente (UT) and Maastricht University (UM) are available within an NWO project on probabilistic analysis of algorithms, called "Rigorous Analysis of Local Search".

The positions are at the group Discrete Mathematics and Mathematical Programming (DMMP) of UT and at the Operations Research group of the Quantitative Economics department of MU. DMMP currently consists of 12 faculty members. The Department of Quantitative Economics of UM consists of over 20 faculty members, of which 6 are part of the Operations Research group.

About the project

Large-scale optimization problems appear in many areas, ranging from engineering over scheduling to the sciences. Unfortunately, for many optimization problems it is unlikely that we can find optimal solutions efficiently. Still, in practice often quite simple local search heuristics succeed in finding close-to-optimal solutions surprisingly quickly. As this is at stark contrast to their theoretically predicted performance, which is usually very poor, the goal of this project is to prove rigorous bounds on the performance of heuristics in the framework of smoothed analysis. Smoothed analysis is a paradigm to analyze algorithms where classical worst-case analysis fails. Although this is still a young field, it has proved to be a successful tool to analyze a variety of algorithms. Therefore, it will be the right framework to understand why simple local search heuristics show such a remarkable performance. We will not only analyze “pure” local search algorithms, but we go one step further towards rigorously analyzing algorithms used in practice by considering hybrid heuristics and metaheuristics.

Your profile

  • You have, or will shortly acquire, a M.Sc. degree in the field of Mathematics, Computer Science or a closely related field.
  • A solid background in Discrete Optimization, Theoretical Computer Science, or the Analysis of Algorithms is highly appreciated but not a must as you will have the opportunity to follow courses of the LNMB PhD program during the first two years.
  • You have good team spirit and like to work in an internationally oriented environment where many cultures meet.
  • You are proficient in English 


Interested to be part of our team? All applications received at or before July 1 will be considered and we keep on considering applications until the positions are filled.

Include in your application:

  • a motivation letter, emphasizing your specific interest, qualifications and motivation to apply for this position
  • a detailed CV (resume) including a short summary of your MSc research and contact information of at least two references that may be consulted
  • copies of certificates

The intended starting date is September 2020 but the exact date is negotiable.
An assessment may be part of the application procedure.

Please do not hesitate to send any questions to Bodo Manthey (UT, or Tjark Vredeveld (UM,

Our offer

We offer an exciting research position in a dynamic and international environment. We offer excellent working conditions and good secondary conditions.

  • The position is fulltime and for four years, with a qualifier in the first year.
  • You'll have a full status as an employee at the UT or UM, including pension and health care benefits.
  • The salary ranges from EUR 2.325,- (1st year) to EUR 2.972,- (4th year) per month, plus holiday allowance (8%) and end-of-year bonus (8.3%).
  • You can make use of excellent facilities for professional and personal development.
  • You have to be willing to move to (the vicinity of) Enschede or Maastricht. A relocation allowance or temporary housing allowance may be part of the offer.

The terms of employment are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local provisions also apply. For more information look at the MU and UT websites.

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 leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.

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+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.

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