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PhD position: Modelling, identification and feedback control in uncertain interacting environments

100%, Zurich, temporary

The Automatic Control Laboratory has an extensive research record in both the theory and application of control technology. Our research spans a broad range including theory, computation, and applications within energy, transportation, and robotic domains. We have three faculty members, (Profs. Dörfler, Lygeros & Smith), 8 post-docs, and about 30 PhD students. Our students come from all over the world and the working language is English.

Project background

The Automatic Control Laboratory (abbreviated IfA from the German) will be one of the leading institutes in the National Centre of Compentence in Research (NCCR) in Dependable Ubiquitous Automation. This NCCR will commence in 2020 and will serve to highlight and foster control and automation activities in Switzerland. The research activities will range from the theoretical foundations of optimization, information processing, and automatic control, through computational tools to enable deployment on a wide range of applications.

Job description

This particular PhD project is focused on modelling and identification of systems from data. The use of these models for control in feedback networks is one of the objectives. The topic is broadly defined as the development of data-driven methods for modeling the behaviour of interconnected systems. Our prior work in this area has involved system identification and model validation, particularly in the context of systems in feedback. The PhD student will be supervised by Prof. Roy Smith. The project will have a strong theoretical component and, depending on the interests and abilities of the candidate, may also range to algorithmic development and experimental evaluation.

Your profile

Candidates must have (or be about to receive) a Masters degree in an engineering or physical sciences discipline from an internationally recognised university. Your academic background should include feedback control systems and/or data-science. A strong mathematical background is also a benefit. We require excellent communication skills (both written and oral) in English. Prior publications are welcome but not essential. Your Masters degree and any publications should demonstrate an analytic academic approach.

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.
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We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  1. A cover letter outlining your motivation and interest in the position. Please also indicate your availability and provide the names of three people who have agreed to act as academic references.
  2. An up-to-date Curriculum Vitae.
  3. A copy of your transcripts for both the Bachelors and (to the extent available) Masters degrees. Please provide these in the original language and (if necessary) in an English translation.
  4. Optional: If you have any academic publications, select and include only your best one. Do not include your Masters Thesis.

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about the Automatic Control Laboratory (IfA) can be found on our website Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Roy Smith, email: (no applications).

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