Full-time Ph.D. position in Berlin, Germany, at the Weierstrass Institute, optimization and machine learning

New: open Ph.D. position

We have a fully-funded Ph.D. position in optimization and machine learning, on topics closely related to distributional robustness, generalization, optimization transport and kernel methods, gradient flow, large-scale optimization, robustness in RL and control, interfacing robustness and causality or fairness.


The ideal candidate’s background is in machine learning and/or optimization, with a master’s degree and related research experience. Those qualifications are demonstrated by by high-quality technical reports or publications in relevant venues such as (NeurIPS/ICLR/AISTATS/ICML/AAAI/CoLT/ALT/JMLR/STOC etc.). Candidates with strong applied or industrial experiences will also be considered. Inquiry welcome.

Examples of topics include

  • Continuous optimization for machine learning/deep learning/reinforcement learning
  • Robust optimization, stochastic optimization
  • Optimal transport and gradient flow for machine learning and optimization
  • Robustness and generalization in learning with a focus on decision-making
  • Dynamical systems modeling and optimization
  • Interfacing learning theory and optimization

What we offer

  • Close mentorship: the Ph.D. candidate will receive responsible and careful mentorship.
  • The Weierstrass Institute for Applied Analysis and Stochastics (WIAS), Berlin is a research institution known for its strength in mathematical optimization and dynamical systems, and applied mathematics in general. It has hosted flagship conferences in mathematical optimization, such as ICCOPT 2019. We also envision collaborations with our partners at top institutions.
  • Our office space is located in downtown Berlin. Berlin is one of the most culture-rich and diverse international cities in the world. It offers endless opportunities to enjoy life outside work while being very affordable compared to other major cities. Working here does not require the German language (although we offer free German courses). Scientifically, Berlin offers a rich landscape with numerous opportunities for research, as well as job prospects in academia and industry.
  • There is no teaching duty envisioned.

Application and more details

Inquiries from qualified (see above) candidates are encouraged. Please send the following:

  • 1-2 page cover letter (including a very brief research statement)
  • CV with links to your existing works
  • Any previous tech reports or publications related to the position
  • Master’s thesis (or draft if not yet completed)
  • Transcripts for bachelor’s and master’s,

to the email address zhu@wias-berlin.de, with the subject containing [apply-phd-opt]. The position will be open until filled. However, to receive full consideration, please apply (or inquire) as soon as possible.

Selected candidates will later

  • provide information of 2-3 references from previous research projects, who have agreed to be contacted
  • submit to the official application platform the above documents and official certificates, transcripts, and other awards

Please direct all inquiries to Dr. Jia-Jie Zhu using the email address zhu@wias-berlin.de, with the subject containing [inquiry-phd-opt]. Note that due to the number of inquiries, I can only reply when there is a fit.