PhD position in Algorithms & Optimisation (Univ. of Liverpool, UK)

A fully funded 3-year PhD position is available at the Computer Science Department of the University of Liverpool, UK. The Department is the world-leading research centre in Computer Science with a particular strength in theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. The department offers a strong research environment, spanning a wide range of research topics such as complexity theory and algorithms, distributed computing and computer networks, verification and formal methods, automata and computability theory, computational game theory, data mining, machine learning and natural language processing.

The successful candidate will do research in the areas of algorithms, optimisation and machine learning, designing new approaches and their analyses for simulation-based planning techniques with applications to online retail. This project will be in cooperation with Shop Direct, the second largest retailer in the UK. The candidate will be supervised by Professor Piotr Krysta ( ) and will become a member of the Algorithms and Optimisation research group at the Department of Computer Science:

This PhD project will study a Loan Pricing Problem (LPP), in which a customer browses pages of an online retailer and is interested to purchase a new product. The retailer offers the customer payment options: a list of appropriately priced loans. These offers are based on the customer's past history, and are carefully chosen and personalised, to maximise the customer's lifetime value. How can we model and efficiently solve this problem based on the customer's history? LPP can be approached by simulation-based planning techniques via Markov decision processes. We will use our expertise in this area and in combinatorial pricing and the design and analysis of algorithms to build a learning model for LPP based on data from Shop Direct. Our goal is to develop a novel framework of meta-algorithms which would automatically generate efficient algorithms to solve LPP based on the historic data. We will use both experimental and theoretical analysis of the performance of our algorithms. Our toolkit will involve state of the art techniques in simulation-based planning, machine learning, approximation algorithms and optimisation.

This PhD project is an exciting opportunity to delve into an important and timely research area on a border of algorithms, optimisation and data analysis with a renowned team of researchers and a modern high-tech internet retailer Shop Direct based in Liverpool. The project will help expose the PhD candidate to contemporary theoretical developments in these research areas as well as their direct deployment in industrial practice. A PhD within this project will prepare the candidate to undertake academic research career and industrial research and development IT career.

The position will be based in University of Liverpool's Department of Computer Science and supervised by Professor Piotr Krysta, and co-supervised by Dr. Rahul Savani (Economics and Computation group) and Dr. Frans Oliehoek (Data Mining and Machine Learning group), with a close cooperation with Shop Direct's Data Science Department.

Prior Experience:
We look for ambitious and highly motivated candidates with good first degree (BSc or MSc) in Computer Science, Mathematics or closely related subject, and with a strong interest and background in algorithms and optimisation, and programming skills. A mathematically oriented mind is desired. The applicant must have good communication skills, both verbal and in writing (English), be self-motivated and helpful team member.

How to Apply:
Applications should be made formally by following the University of Liverpool's standard process. Details can be found here:

Applications should list Prof. Piotr Krysta as the potential supervisor and choose the option "School funded PhD" when asked how you will fund the PhD. Applications must contain a cover letter, a curriculum vitae or resume, copies of undergraduate and graduate transcripts, a 1-2 page research statement describing how the applicant's qualifications and research interests would fit the project, a copy of the applicant's bachelor or master's thesis and the names and contact information of academic references.

Funding Notes:
This PhD studentship will be for 3 years at GBP 20,000 (tax-free) per year.
a) If UK/EU this will relate to Full Fees & Maintenance (current fee GBP 4,195)
b) If overseas/international applicants this will relate to Full Fee and a small maintenance (current fee is GBP 18,900).

Applications are admitted until 24 November 2017, or until a suitable candidate is found thereafter. The selected candidate can start this position immediately, but the latest starting date for this fully-funded PhD position is 1 March 2018. Please send your informal inquiries to Prof. Piotr Krysta (