KULeuven – PostDoctoral Position with the H2020 Project AIDA

July 16, 2018, from Richard Morton

The Department of Mathematics of the KULeuven is looking for an expert in solar physics and/or machine learning at the postdoctoral level.

The researcher will have participate in a stimulating research environment within the Mathematics Department of KULeuven and within the network of team forming the Horizon 2002 project AIDA (www.aida-space.eu) funded by the European commission. Partners include: KU Leuven in Belgium; CWI in The Netherlands; University of Calabria, University of Pisa and CINECA in Italy; CNRS in France; IRIDA in Greece and Space Consulting in USA.

The researchers will be employed by KU Leuven, but collaborations with other teams within the project and more generally within the scientific and industrial community focusing on space science and artificial intelligence is highly encouraged.

AIDA aims at bringing the analysis of heliophysics data to a new level. We plan to develop a Python-based tool to retrieve and analyze data from a variety of missions, using the most modern techniques of statistical analysis, machine learning. The project also includes the use of observational data in the mathematical modeling of solar and magnetospheric processes on high performance supercomputers.

KULeuven is aspiring to become a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) as the very recent construction of the Genius supercomputer with a dedicated partition proves. KULeuven has also several groups leaders in AI and we will encourage interdisciplinary collaborations with computer scientist and engineers.

The work place is Leuven, a historic university town (our university is one of the oldest in Europe, founded in 1425) located just 20 minutes from the center of Brussels and 15 minutes from Brussels international airport, making it easily reachable for international travelers.

Leuven is an international city located in the Flemish (Dutch speaking) part of Belgium, where English is spoken routinely in all places (from University and public offices to shops and entertainment venues). The distance from Brussel and from other French speaking parts of the country is so small that it is perfectly possible to commute.

Our division, the Center for mathematical Plasma Astrophysics (CmPA, wis.kuleuven.be/CmPA), is a leading center in the study of space science. Our team is formed of four professors (plus one active emeritus) and about 40 experts, scientists, postdocs and students working on different aspects of simulation and data analysis applied to solar and space science, astrophysics and other plasma processes (nuclear fusion energy, industrial, space propulsion). www.aida-space.eu

Profile – Responsibilities

At least one, preferably more, of the following items should be very familiar to the selected candidate:

  • Machine Learning, Deep Neural Networks, Bayesian Methods,
  • Solar, Magnetospheric and Solar wind data analysis,
  • Expertise on computer programming with Python, C, C++ or Fortran,
  • Plasma physics, astrophysics or space physics,
  • Numerical methods for fluid dynamics, MHD and kinetic physics particle in cell methods.

Context on the AIDA project

AIDA brings a transformational innovation to the analysis of heliophysics data in four steps.

First, AIDA will develop a new open source software called AIDApp written in Python (a free language) and capable of collecting, combining and correlating data from different space missions. AIDApp wants to replace mission-specific tools written for costly languages (such as IDL) that exclude many scientists, students and amateur space enthusiasts from exploring the data, with a much-needed single platform where methods are shared and continuously improved by the whole community.

Second, AIDA will introduce modern data assimilation, statistical methods and machine learning (ML) to heliophysics data processing. Unlike traditional methods based on human expertise, these methods rely on statistics and information theory to extract features that are hidden in the data.

Third, AIDA will combine real data from space missions with synthetic data from simulations developing a virtual satellite component for AIDApp. This feature will be demonstrated in the comparison with existing mission data and in the planning of new missions.

Fourth, AIDA will deploy in AIDApp methods of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyse data flows from heliophysics missions. This task requires bridging together competences in computer science and in heliophysics and pushes well beyond the current state of the art in space data analysis, connecting space researchers with AI, one of the fastest growing trends in modern science and industrial development. AIDA will use the new AIDApp in selecting key heliophysics problems to produce a database (AIDAdb) of new high-level data products that include catalogs of features and events detected by ML and AI algorithms. Moreover, many of the AI methods developed in AIDA will themselves represent higher-level data products, for instance in the form of trained neural networks that can be stored and reused as a database of coefficients.

These tasks will be the collective responsibility of the whole consortium and certainly not of any single person. The selected candidate will work on aspects of the project best suited to her or his abilities and interests. Research freedom will be highly valued, under the guidance of the need to reach some projects goals. Reaching the goals is a task that can be done in many ways and research is finding out how to reach them. The candidate will be supported by a team of experts at KULeuven including both senior and junior research experts. The plan is to have a stimulating collaborative environment that puts all in the position to do best what the research they like the most.


For more information of the conditions of employment of a PostDoc at KULeuven, please go to: www.kuleuven.be/english/research/postdoc

For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Giovanni Lapenta or Dr. Jorge Amaya, by email to: coordinator.aida@kuleuven.be

You can apply for this job no later than August 31, 2018 via the online application tool: www.kuleuven.be/personeel/jobsite/jobs/54649709?hl=en&lang=en

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.