Where to apply

The Data Management and Biometrics group and Formal Methods & Tools groups at the University of Twente seek a PhD candidate for SEQUOIA: Smart maintenance optimization via big data & fault tree analysis, a project funded by the NWO Applied and Engineering Sciences, and the companies ProRail and NS. ProRail is responsible for the Dutch railway network, including its construction, management, maintenance, and safety; NS has the same responsibility for the Dutch train fleed. The project is led by Prof. dr. Mariëlle Stoelinga, Prof.dr. Joost-Pieter Katoen and Dr. Djoerd Hiemstra.

Job description

SEQUOIA aims to improve the reliability of the Dutch railroads by deploying big data analytics to predict and prevent failures. Its scientific core is a novel combination of machine learning, fault tree analysis and stochastic model checking. Key idea is that big data analytics provide the statistics on failures, their correlations, dependencies etc. and fault trees provide the domain knowledge needed to interpret these data. The project outcome aims at developing explainable machine learning techniques that discover causal relations instead of statistical correlations; machine learning of fault trees or of other models that are normally designed top-down by domain experts. The techniques should help ProRail to decrease train disruptions and delays, to lower maintenance cost, and to increase passenger comfort.

The project involves an intense cooperation ProRail and the RWTH Aachen University. The PhD candidate will spend a portion of their time at ProRail.

Key project deliverables are efficient analysis algorithms and a workable tool to be used in the ProRail context.

For more information about the project, see: