Postdoc in Artificial Intelligence and Game Playing

Maastricht (NL)
06 Apr 2018
End of advertisement period
30 Apr 2018
Contract Type
Full Time

Postdoc in Artificial Intelligence and Game Playing

An outstanding postdoctoral researcher is sought for a project involving the computational study of traditional games. The position is part of the world leading game AI research being undertaken at Maastricht University’s Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (DKE).

Job description

The Digital Ludeme Project, a five-year research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC), will entail a computational study of the world's traditional games throughout recorded human history. It aims to improve our knowledge of ancient games using modern AI techniques, to chart their evolution and their role in the spread of mathematical knowledge across cultures, thereby establishing a new field of research called Digital Archaeoludology. 

The successful applicant will play a leading role in helping to develop the software system and related databases for modelling the expected corpus of over 1,000 traditional games, and preparing the data thus collated for phylogenetic, historical and cultural analysis by the project's "cultural" contingent. The project will produce a new public platform for game AI study, facilitating novel research into machine learning for general game playing, phylogenetic analysis of games including game distance/similarity metrics, and automated strategy learning, transfer and explanation. 

The successful candidate will produce publishable results in leading conferences and journals, and will assist with the supervision of PhD students and play an active role in the day-to-day running of the project. This will include coordinating project meetings and field trips, and events such as international symposia, conferences and a public exhibition, and assisting with the pursuit of further research funding.


Applicants should have a PhD in a relevant field (artificial/computational intelligence, machine learning, general game playing, computational phylogenetics, data mining, etc.) and a strong track record of research output and publication. Expert Java programming skills are essential. A strong background in machine learning and experience coordinating research projects and conference-level events would be advantageous. A demonstrated passion for traditional games and an interest in their history will be highly regarded.

Conditions of employment

The position is offered for the duration of the project (until 31 March 2023) with yearly evaluations. It will be located on-site at Maastricht, The Netherlands, at one of the world’s top new universities known for its international and multidisciplinary focus. 

The salary and conditions of employment will be as set out in the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) of Dutch Universities ( for a full-time contract of 38 hours/week at salary scale 10 (€2,588 to €4,084/gross per month) plus 8% holiday loading and an 8.3% year-end allowance. Non-Dutch applicants may be eligible for a favourable tax treatment (30% rule). 

Contract type: Temporary, 31-03-2023 


Maastricht University

Established in 1976, Maastricht University (UM) is the most international university in the Netherlands and renowned for its innovative, student-centered problem-based learning system. With approximately 16.300 students and 4.300 employees, Um offers a wide choice of bachelor’s, master’s and PhD programmes, all of which are designed to integrate research and education. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools linked to the university’s six faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Humanities and Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.


Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (DKE)
Founded in 1992 as part of the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences, today DKE broadly covers Data Science and Knowledge Engineering in research and teaching. DKE comprises three internationally respected research groups, having their focus on “Robotics, Agents and Interaction”, “Networks and Strategic Optimization”, and “Biomathematics and Bioinformatics”. Education programmes offered by DKE are a BSc in Data Science & Knowledge Engineering, a MSc in Artificial Intelligence, and a MSc in Data Science for Decision Making. For further information, see

Additional information

Please submit applications by 7 May 2018 and refer to vacancy number AT2018.81. via as a single PDF document including:

  • Letter of motivation and interest in the topic (1 page);
  • CV with a summary of highlights (2 pages);
  • Names and contact details of at least two academic referees;
  • Please also submit electronic copies of your two best/most relevant publications.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview at Maastricht University in May, which may be conducted by Skype where needed. Start date: 1 June 2018 or as soon as the successful applicant is available. For more information, please contact Dr. Cameron Browne (

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.