PhD Position in Scalable Real-Time Computations for Video Data Analytics

VU University of Amsterdam Faculty of Science


Are you interested in building next-generation software for analyzing video data at scale? Then we would like to get to know you. Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.


FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

Video data is dominating the Internet traffic nowadays. Video data analytics has become a powerful tool for many emerging applications such as smart cities and autonomous driving. Nowadays, deep learning has become the standard approach for video data analytics due to its high analytics accuracy. However, deep learning algorithms are typically computation intensive and require the support of powerful computing infrastructures such as those based on GPUs, TPUs, or other accelerators. This development makes efficient video data analytics challenging, especially for real-time applications that often use low-resource devices at the network edge.

This PhD project will focus on building efficient and scalable systems software for deep learning (DL) inference over video data at the network edge. The edge environment is intrinsically dynamic (e.g., fast-moving 5G-connected cars or smartphones), calling for adaptive solutions. The main idea is to leverage the concept of “approximate computing” to conduct tradeoffs between DL inference latency and accuracy to meet real-time guarantees which are crucial in mission-critical applications. The project aims to build fundamental abstractions and mechanisms and develop a self-adaptive edge DL inference system. The resulting system will be tested with popular video data analytics applications on a cluster such as our DAS-6. The project is part of a larger program together with the Intelligent Sensory Information Systems Lab of the University of Amsterdam and with Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

The PhD will work in a diverse multi-disciplinary team (see with several other PhDs and experts on computer systems, networking, and deep learning. In addition, the PhD will interact with experts on computer vision and deep learning from the University of Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport. The position fills a vacant role in the High Performance Distributed Computing group, which has decades of experience with programming environments for large-scale distributed systems.

Your duties

  • analyze the literature to understand the state-of-the-art in DL for video analytics
  • design a software framework to enable self-adaptation of DL models
  • conduct semantic analysis of modern applications and develop a coordination mechanism to achieve application-level self-adaptation
  • incorporate the proposed framework and mechanism in 5G mobile network environments
  • implement the system and build a prototype


  • a Master's degree in Computer Science, Computational Science or related field; we also accept applications from students who have not finished their master project yet but plan to do so in the next months (the latest possible starting date for this project is 1 September).
  • interest in video analytics or machine learning systems in general
  • excellent programming skills (e.g., C++, Python) and systems/network programming experience
  • good collaboration and communication skills

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts & euro 2.395 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to & euro 3.061 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a total duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge
  • discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance)

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavour – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.


We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button until 12 April 2021. Please include:

  • a detailed CV
  • a list of courses (with grades obtained) for your Bachelor and Master programs
  • a short motivation letter
  • contact details of at least two references

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions

If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Prof.dr. Henri Bal
Position: Full Professor

No agencies

In your application, please refer to


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