PhD student position in Neuro-Symbolic Synthesis and Reinforcement Learning

  • Ref REF 2022-0881

In this project we study a new approach to synthesis of efficient communication schemes in multi-agent systems, trained via reinforcement learning. We combine symbolic methods with machine learning, in what is referred to as a neuro-symbolic system, where a neural network learns to produce programs in a symbolic language to solve a task at hand. We believe this combination of neural and symbolic methods will be an important next step in the development of AI beyond todays capabilities. This project is a collaboration between researchers at the division of Data Science and AI at Chalmers and the Center for Linguistic Theory and Studies in Probability (CLASP) at Gothenburg University.

Information about the department and the project

This project touches on several fields, not only AI and computer science but also linguistics and cognitive science. We place our research in a multi-agent context as we consider language learning a collaborative task rather the something that happens entirely in isolation, and take inspiration from studies on human communication in collaborative settings. Agents will not be restricted to use only primitives provided as input, but interactions will be interleaved with (symbolic) steps to extend and revise their current language with novel higher-level concepts, allowing for generalisation and more informative messages.To get an idea of the project, the applicant might want to read this recent paper, which reports on a pilot study for what we will now develop further:Towards Learning Abstractions via Reinforcement Learning. E. Jergéus, L. Karlsson Oinonen, E. Carlsson and M. Johansson. 8th Int. Workshop on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science (2022).The PhD student will be part of a new group forming around research on neuro-symbolic systems led by Dr. Moa Johansson, and will also work closely with a post-doctoral researcher. The group belong to the division of Data Science and AI which spans both machine learning and symbolic AI. Chalmers is one of the leading technical universities in Sweden, and its Computer Science department is one of the best and largest in the country.

Major responsibilities

We are looking for a PhD student with an interest in neuro-symbolic AI (machine learning and symbolic methods) to work as a researcher on this project, which will include both implementation work and experimentation.The PhD position is funded for five years, of which 80% is research and 20% is teaching.


The candidate should have (or shortly be about to finish) a MSc degree in e.g. Computer Science, AI, computational linguistics, computational cognitive science, mathematics or other relevant fields.The position requires sound verbal and written communication skills in English. If Swedish is not your native language, Chalmers offers Swedish courses.

Contract terms

Full-time temporary employment. The position is limited to a maximum of five years.

We offerChalmers offers a cultivating and inspiring working environment in the coastal city of Gothenburg. Read more about working at Chalmers and our benefits for employees.Chalmers aims to actively improve our gender balance. We work broadly with equality projects, for example the GENIE Initiative on gender equality for excellence. Equality and diversity are substantial foundations in all activities at Chalmers.

Application procedure

The application should be marked with Ref 20220712 and written in English. The application should be sent electronically and be attached as PDF-files, as below. Maximum size for each file is 40 MB. Please note that the system does not support Zip files.

CV: (Please name the document: CV, Family name, Ref. number)

• CV

• Other, for example previous employments or leadership qualifications and positions of trust.• Two references that we can contact.

Personal letter: (Please name the document as: Personal letter, Family name, Ref. number)1-3 pages where you:• Introduce yourself

• Describe your previous experience of relevance for the position (e.g. education, thesis work and, if applicable, any other research activities)

• Describe your future goals and future research focus

Other documents:

• Copies of bachelor and/or master’s thesis.

• Attested copies and transcripts of completed education, grades and other certificates, e.g. TOEFL test results.Please use the button at the foot of the page to reach the application form.

Application deadline: February 28, 2023For questions, please contact:

Associate Professor Moa JohanssonEmail:

*** Chalmers declines to consider all offers of further announcement publishing or other types of support for the recruiting process in connection with this position. ***

Chalmers University of Technology conducts research and education in engineering sciences, architecture, technology-related mathematical sciences, natural and nautical sciences, working in close collaboration with industry and society. The strategy for scientific excellence focuses on our six Areas of Advance; Energy, Health Engineering, Information and Communication Technology, Materials Science, Production and Transport. The aim is to make an active contribution to a sustainable future using the basic sciences as a foundation and innovation and entrepreneurship as the central driving forces. Chalmers has around 11,000 students and 3,000 employees. New knowledge and improved technology have characterised Chalmers since its foundation in 1829, completely in accordance with the will of William Chalmers and his motto: Avancez!