Join our PhD program and become an expert in artificial intelligence. Dive into challenging research topics with world-class mentors and industry partners. We welcome curious minds to join our open culture.

Why PhD at KInIT

Rise to excellence

Take advantage of an inspiring environment and become a top expert in your selected AI topic. At Kempelen institute, we prioritise ethical responsibility and societal benefit.

Learn from the best

When working on your dissertation, you’ll have access to a distinguished supervising team, including industrial partners and/or renowned experts from world-class research institutions.

Research that impacts

Choose a research topic that deeply interests you and will enrich the field. At KInIT, we support excellent, original world-class research and the connection with industry and current research and innovation challenges.

Open culture

Our culture is based on trust, openness and respect. That is how great ideas are born. We share knowledge and innovations not only within the institute, but also with our industry partners and other curious people like you.

Build your network

You’ll be teamed up with the best researchers in the region and gain invaluable experience and contacts from abroad that will boost your career growth in industry or academia.

No distractions

You will become a full-time KInIT employee. We will give you all the time and space you need to focus on your research, skills development and growth.

KInIT PhD program is run in partnership with

What our PhD students said

cief web

My mentors are at the top of their fields and so are the other PhD students and the rest of the team. Surrounding yourself with the best people possible pushes you forward.

Matej Čief

benova web

I love that my topic is directly linked to real-world problems and projects that KInIT is working on, either in collaboration with industry or in research projects. I’m working on something that will have a real impact.

Ivana Beňová

Deadlines

  1. Express your interest — by March 31
    If you’re interested in the PhD study program at KInIT, let us know as soon as possible.
  2. Participate in testing — by April 31
    Test your knowledge and match with KInIT values.
    You’ll take part in systematic selection steps such as team activity, knowledge review test, etc.
  3. Find a topic and a supervisor match — by May 17
    We’ll get back to you and organize a matchmaking for a research topic and/or supervisor.
  4. Submit the application — by May 27
    If you’ve found a potential match, apply for the doctoral program at FIT VUT Brno.
    We’ll guide you through the application submission process.
  5. Wait for the decision — by July 20
    Wait for the admission process to finish. We’ll let you know our final decision.
  6. Start at KInIT
    If we choose you, we’ll provide you with further information on your work contract at KInIT.
    PhD study at FIT VUT officially starts on 1 September 2022.

How the PhD study at KInIT works

1

Work at KInIT & study at FIT VUT

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We provide PhD study in collaboration with the Faculty of Information Technology at VUT, Brno (Czechia). You’ll be enrolled at the faculty as an external doctoral student. After you’re accepted for study, you’ll work as a full-time employee at our institute. Your doctoral research will be your primary job role.

2

Carry out research in a selected topic

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You can choose from multiple interesting topics of your dissertation. They are based on different mentoring schemes:

  1. Research topics supported by industrial research partners
  2. Research topics mentored by top scientists from abroad
  3. Research topics connected to international projects

You’ll have access to an expert supervising team. Depending on the selected scheme, it can include industrial partners and/or a scientist from a renowned foreign university.

3

Join our research teams

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While working at our institute you’ll be a member of a KInIT research team. The teams collaborate on various projects or on other activities:

4

Change the world

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The rest is up to you! Turn your curiosity and passion for intelligent technologies into new discoveries or inventions making the world a better place.

Dissertation topics

Advanced topics in machine learning

Supervising team: Mária Bieliková (KInIT guarantor), Peter Dolog (Aalborg University), Jana Kosecka (George Mason University), Branislav Kveton (Google Research), Peter Richtárik (KAUST), Martin Takáč (Mohamed Bin Zayed University), Peter Tino (University of Birmingham)
Key words: machine learning, deep learning, learning theory, optimization, trustworthiness

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Machine learning is in the centre of research of artificial intelligence. Many researchers worldwide are dealing with the topics related to machine learning, both in academia and industry. This very dynamic field is characterized with fast transfer of solutions into practical use.

The topics in this domain are defined by premier scientific conferences, where top-class researchers meet, for example ICML (International Conference on Machine Learning), NeurIPS (Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems), IJCAI (International Joint Conference on AI), COLT (Conference on Learning Theory).

This thesis will be advised by an external mentor, who will also define its particular topic.

Interesting research challenges are contained within (but are not limited to) these topics:

  • General Machine Learning (e.g., active learning, clustering, online learning, ranking, reinforcement learning, semi-supervised learning, time series analysis, unsupervised learning)
  • Deep Learning (e.g., architectures, generative models, deep reinforcement learning)
  • Learning Theory (e.g., bandits, game theory, statistical learning theory)
  • Optimization (e.g., convex and non-convex optimization, matrix/tensor methods, sparsity)
  • Trustworthy Machine Learning (e.g., accountability, causality, fairness, privacy, robustness)

There are many application domains, where advanced machine learning methods can be deployed.

The research will be performed at the Kempelen Institute of Intelligent Technologies (KInIT, https://kinit.sk) in Bratislava in cooperation with researchers from highly respected research units. A combined (external) form of study and full employment at KInIT is expected.

Supervising team
Maria Bielikova
Expert Researcher
Peter Dolog
Associate Professor, Aalborg University, Denmark
Jana Kosecka
Professor, George Mason University, USA
Branislav Kveton
Principal Scientist, Amazon’s lab, USA
Peter Richtárik
Professor, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia
Martin Takáč
Associate Professor, Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, United Arab Emirates
Peter Tino
Professor, University of Birmingham, UK

Natural language processing

Supervising team: Marián Šimko (supervisor, KInIT), Jana Kosecka (George Mason University)
Keyword: deep learning, multilingual learning, transparency, interpretability, information extraction, text classification

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Continuous increase of data available world-wide emphasizes the need of its automatic processing and understanding. Particular challenges are posed by the heterogeneous and unstructured nature of text content provided in natural language. Natural language processing (NLP) ranks among the most prospective subfields of artificial intelligence with great potential for innovative applications affecting everyday life.

Recent advances in neural networks and machine learning allowed to push efficiency and scope of natural language understanding and generation forward. Yet, there remain many research challenges related to particular subtasks, application domains and languages. Further research and various resulting phenomena exploration is necessary. Special attention is drawn by the issues of interpretability and transparency of NLP models or by novel paradigms of learning addressing the problem of low-resource languages.

Particularly interesting challenges include, but are not limited to:

  • Low-resource language processing
  • Transfer/multilingual learning
  • Fairness, interpretability, transparency, explainability and/or robustness for NLP
  • Domain-specific information extraction, text classification
  • Visual grounding of natural language, image captioning, multimodal data processing
  • Deep learning for NLP

Relevant publications:

The research will be performed at the Kempelen Institute of Intelligent Technologies (KInIT) in Bratislava in cooperation with industrial partners or researchers from highly respected research units from abroad. A combined (external) form of study and full employment at KInIT is expected.

Supervising team
Marián Šimko
Expert Researcher
Jana Kosecka
Professor, George Mason University, USA

Machine learning in security

Supervising team: Daniela Chudá (supervisor, KInIT), Peter Lacko (KInIT), ESET
Keyword: reinforcement learning, deep learning, neural networks , security

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There is an increasing need to address security-related problems via methods based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Research problems in the domain of information security include the analysis of security logs, detection of a wide range of anomalies in network communication or detection of malicious behavior.

One of the current challenges of artificial intelligence in various domains including security is learning without the need for a labelled dataset. Today’s models usually achieve excellent results, but they often achieve them thanks to a large number of marked training examples. However, there are problems where creating such a dataset would be very expensive or impossible to build. Reinforcement learning approaches allow an agent to be taught to take action to achieve his goal while seeking to maximize his rewards. Such an agent does not need a marked dataset, he needs only an external evaluation of his behavior (reward for good decisions, punishment for bad). Reinforcement learning is facing challenges with state-space size, delayed rewards, stability of training or cooperation emergence in multi-agent systems.

Another challenge is the interpretability of machine learning in the domain of security and trust.

Relevant publications:

  • D. Chuda, P. Kratky, K. Burda. Biometric Properties of Mouse Interaction Features on the Web. In Interacting with Computers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Human-Computer Interaction. Vol. 30, iss. 5, 2018, 359-377.  https://doi.org/10.1093/iwc/iwy015
  • P. Lacko, V. Kvasnička. Mixture of Expert Used to Learn Game Play. In: Kůrková V., Neruda R., Koutník J. (eds) Artificial Neural Networks – ICANN 2008, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 5163. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-87536-9_24

The research will be performed at the Kempelen Institute of Intelligent Technologies (KInIT) in Bratislava in cooperation with industrial partners or researchers from highly respected research units from abroad. A combined (external) form of study and full employment at KInIT is expected.

Supervising team
Daniela Chudá
Expert Researcher
Peter Lacko
Expert Researcher
Eset

Intelligent data analysis

Supervising team: Viera Rozinajová (supervisor, KInIT),  Anna Bou Ezzedine (KInIT), Gabriela Grmanová (KInIT)
Key words: Data analytics, machine learning, optimization, anomaly detection, smart grid

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Thanks to the deployment of new technologies in our daily lives, a huge amount of data of various types is constantly being generated. The created datasets need to be processed efficiently – the information contained in them often supports the correctness and accuracy of decision-making processes. The development of data analysis methods is therefore an important part of IT research. For various reasons, traditional processing methods are not generally applicable, so new approaches need to be sought. They are mostly based on artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Intelligent data analysis has great potential for solving current research tasks in many areas, including the energy domain. This field is undergoing great changes – renewable energy sources, batteries and electromobility convert the nature of the electricity grid and the classic one-way centralized network is becoming a two-way distributed network. This fact raises a number of research questions and problems to solve.

Research topics include:

  • optimal management of microgrids (small energy networks with renewable energy sources) enabling energy sharing between customers,
  • predicting customer consumption and renewable production needed for efficient microgrid management,
  • disaggregation of energy consumption into consumption of individual appliances, which will allow a better understanding of the nature of consumer consumption,
  • investigation of anomalies and / or extreme values ​​in the consumption or production of energy from renewable sources.

However, data analysis in a broader sense can be of interest – it is possible to focus on the tasks of prediction, clustering, classification or detection of anomalies in different domains.

Relevant publications: 

  • Rozinajova, V., Bou Ezzeddine, A., Grmanova, G., Vrablecova, P., Pomffyova, M.(2020): Intelligent Analysis of Data Streams, Published in: Towards Digital Intelligence Society: A Knowledge-based Approach, Publish date 22 December 2020
  • Kloska M., Rozinajova V. (2021): Towards Symbolic Time Series Representation Improved by Kernel Density Estimators. In: Hameurlain A., Tjoa A.M. (eds) Transactions on Large-Scale Data- and Knowledge-Centered Systems L. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 12930. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
Supervising team
Viera Rozinajová
Expert Researcher
Anna Bou Ezzeddine
Expert Researcher
Gabriela Grmanová
Senior Researcher

Recommender and adaptive web-based systems

Supervising team: Michal Kompan (supervisor, KInIT), Mária Bieliková (supervisor, KInIT), Peter Brusilovsky (University of Pittsburgh), Peter Dolog (Aalborg University), Branislav Kveton (Google Research), Luigi’s Box
Keywords: personalised recommendation, biases, machine learning, user model, fairness, off-policy

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The recommender systems are an integral part of almost every modern Web application. Personalized, or at least adaptive, services have become a standard that is expected by the users in almost every domain (e.g., news, chatbots, social media, or search).

Obviously, personalization has a great impact on the everyday life of hundreds of million users across many domains and applications. This results in a major challenge – to propose methods that are not only accurate but also trustworthy and fair. Such a goal offers plenty of research opportunities in many directions:

  • Novel machine learning approaches for adaptive and recommender systems
  • Off-policy learning
  • Explaining recommendations
  • Fairness and justice in recommendations
  • Biases in the recommendations

There are several application domains where these research problems can be addressed, e.g., search, e-commerce, news, and many others.

Relevant publications:

  • M. Kompan, P. Gaspar, J. Macina, M. Cimerman, M. Bielikova. Exploring Customer Price Preference and Product Profit Role in Recommender Systems. In IEEE Intelligent Systems int. Journal, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1109/MIS.2021.3092768
  • M. Svrcek, M. Kompan, M. Bielikova. Towards Understandable Personalized Recommendations: Hybrid Explanations. In Computer Science and Information Systems. Vol. 16, No. 1, 2019. https://doi.org/10.2298/CSIS171217012S

The research will be performed at the Kempelen Institute of Intelligent Technologies (KInIT) in Bratislava in cooperation with industrial partners or researchers from highly respected research units from abroad. A combined (external) form of study and full employment at KInIT is expected.

Supervising team
Michal Kompan
Expert Researcher
Maria Bielikova
Expert Researcher
Peter Brusilovsky
Professor, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Peter Dolog
Associate Professor, Aalborg University, Denmark
Branislav Kveton
Principal Scientist, Amazon’s lab, USA
Luigi’s Box

Machine learning with human in the loop

Supervising team: Jakub Šimko (supervisor, KInIT), Peter Brusilovsky (University of Pittsburgh), Peter Dolog (Aalborg University), Jana Kosecka (George Mason University)
Keywords: machine learning, human in the loop, crowdsourcing, human computation, games with a purpose, active learning.

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The models created in machine learning can only be as good as the data on which they are trained. Researchers and practitioners thus strive to provide their training processes with the best data possible. It is not uncommon to spend much human effort in achieving upfront good general data quality (e.g. through annotation). Yet sometimes, upfront dataset preparation cannot be done properly, sufficiently or at all.

In such cases the solutions, colloquially denoted as human-in-the-loop solutions, employ the human effort in improving the machine learned models through actions taken during the training process and/or during the deployment of the modes (e.g. user feedback on automated translations). They are particularly useful for surgical improvements of training data through identification and resolving of border cases. This is also directly related to explainability and interpretability of models.

Human-in-the-loop approaches draw from a wide palette of techniques, including active and interactive learning, human computation, crowdsourcing (also with motivation schemes of gamification and serious games), and collective intelligence. Each of these fields (or combination thereof) presents opportunities for new discoveries. They border on computer science disciplines such as data visualization, user experience (usability in particular) and software engineering.

The domains of application of machine learning with human-in-the-loop are predominantly those with a lot of heterogeneity and volatility of data. Such domains include online false information detection, online information spreading (including spreading of narratives or memes), auditing of social media algorithms and their tendencies for disinformation spreading, support of manual/automated fact-checking and more.

Relevant publications:

  • M. Tomlein, B. Pecher, J. Simko, I. Srba, R. Moro, E. Stefancova, M. Kompan, A. Hrckova, J. Podrouzek, and M. Bielikova. An Audit of Misinformation Filter Bubbles on YouTube: Bubble Bursting and Recent Behavior Changes. In Fifteenth ACM Conference on Recommender Systems (pp. 1-11). 2021, September. https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3460231.3474241
  • J. Šimko and M. Bieliková. Semantic Acquisition Games: Harnessing Manpower for Creating Semantics. 1st Edition. Springer Int. Publ. Switzerland. 150 p. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-06115-3

The research will be performed at the Kempelen Institute of Intelligent Technologies (KInIT, https://kinit.sk) in Bratislava in cooperation with industrial partners or researchers from highly respected research units. A combined (external) form of study and full employment at KInIT is expected.

Supervising team
Jakub Šimko
Expert Researcher
Peter Brusilovsky
Professor, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Peter Dolog
Associate Professor, Aalborg University, Denmark
Jana Kosecka
Professor, George Mason University, USA

Machine learning with limited (labelled) data

Supervising team: Mária Bieliková (supervisor, KInIT), Ivan Srba (KInIT)
Keywords: machine learning, meta-learning, transfer-learning, weakly supervised learning, semi-supervised learning, zero/one-shot learning

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Ubiquity of computing is nowadays generating vast datasets potentially usable for training machine learned models. Yet, these data mostly come not annotated, i.e. without labels necessary for their use for supervised (most conventional) training methods (e.g. classification). Conventional acquisition of proper labels using human force is a costly endeavour. The result is that proper labels are either unavailable, few or of poor quality.

To circumvent the issue, many approaches are emerging and are presently researched by many researchers: meta-learning, transfer-learning, weakly supervised learning, zero/one-shot learning, semi-supervised learning. Each of these fields (or combination thereof) presents opportunities for new discoveries. Orthogonal to this, explainability and interpretability of models is an important factor to consider and advances in this regard are welcome (generally in AI and particularly in the mentioned approaches).

There are several domains of applications, where research of methods and models for addressing small labelled data can be applied. These include (but are not limited to) false information detection, auditing of social media algorithms and their tendencies for disinformation spreading, and support of manual/automated fact-checking.

Relevant publications:

  • B. Pecher, I. Srba, and M. Bielikova. Learning to Detect Misinformation Using Meta-Learning. Presented in PhD Forum by B. Pechcer at the European Conference on Machine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases – ECML-PKDD 2020.
  • M. Pikuliak, M. Simko, M. Bielikova. Cross-Lingual Learning for Text Processing: A Survey Expert Systems With Applications or its open access mirror. Expert Systems with Applications. Vol. 165, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eswa.2020.113765

The research will be performed at the Kempelen Institute of Intelligent Technologies (KInIT, https://kinit.sk) in Bratislava in cooperation with industrial partners or researchers from highly respected research units. A combined (external) form of study and full employment at KInIT is expected.

Supervising team
Maria Bielikova
Expert Researcher
Ivan Srba
Senior Researcher

KInIT supervisors

Maria Bielikova
Expert Researcher
Daniela Chudá
Expert Researcher
Michal Kompan
Expert Researcher
Viera Rozinajová
Expert Researcher
Jakub Šimko
Expert Researcher
Marián Šimko
Expert Researcher

External mentors

Peter Brusilovsky is a Professor at the School of Computing and Information, University of Pittsburgh, where he directs the Personalized Adaptive Web Systems (PAWS) lab. His research is focused on user-centered intelligent systems in the areas of adaptive learning, recommender systems, and personalized health. He is a recipient of Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, NSF CAREER Award, and Fulbright-Nokia Distinguished Chair. Peter served as the Editor-in-Chief of IEEE  Trans. on Learning Technologies, and a program chair for several conferences including RecSys.

Peter Dolog is an Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science, Aalborg University, Denmark. His current research interests include machine learning and data mining in the areas of user behavior analysis and prediction, recommender systems, preference learning, and personalization. Peter is a senior member of ACM, served as a senior program commitee member of AI related conferences as well as a general chair of UMAP, HT and Web Engineering conferences.

Jana Kosecka is a Professor at the George Mason University. She is interested in computational models of vision systems, acquisition of static and dynamic models of environments by means of visual sensing, high-level semantic scene understanding and human-computer interaction. She held visiting positions at UC Berkeley, Stanford University, Google and Nokia Research, and served as Program chair, Area chair or senior member of editorial board for  leading conferences in the field CVPR, ICCV, ICRA.

Branislav Kveton is a Principal Scientist at Amazon’s lab in Berkeley. He proposes, analyzes, and applies algorithms that learn incrementally, run in real time, and converge to near-optimal solutions as they learn. He made several fundamental contributions to the field of multi-armed bandits. His earlier work focused on structured bandit problems with graphs, submodularity, and low-rank matrices, and ranked lists. His recent work focuses on making bandit algorithms practical

Peter Richtárik is a Professor of Computer Science & Mathematics at KAUST. He is one of the founders and a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute. Through his work on randomized and distributed optimization algorithms, he has contributed to the foundations of machine learning and federated learning. He serves as an Area Chair of leading machine learning conferences, including NeurIPS, ICML and ICLR.

Martin Takáč is an Associate Professor and Deputy Department Chair of Machine Learning Department at MBZUAI, where he is a core faculty at the Optimization & Machine Learning Lab. His current research interests include the design and analysis of algorithms for machine learning, applications of ML, optimization, HPC. He serves as an Area Chair of ML conferences such as AISTATS, ICML, and NeurIPS.

Peter Tino is a Professor at the School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, UK. He is interested in the interplay between mathematical modelling and machine learning (dynamical systems, probabilistic modelling, statistical pattern recognition, natural computation). Peter is interested in both foundational aspects and applications in interdisciplinary contexts (e.g. astrophysics, biomedical sciences, cognitive neuroscience).

He is a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute and has served on editorial boards of leading journals such as IEEE TNNLS, IEEE TCYB, Neural Networks and Scientific Reports.

Industrial partners

For more than 30 years, ESET® has been developing industry-leading IT security solutions that protect businesses and consumers worldwide.

Our R&D activities focus on all aspects of cybersecurity – detection of threats, research of malware, APTs, exploits, phishing, spam, monitoring of botnets and targeted attacks, protection of mobile platforms, IoT environment and network infrastructure as well as zero-trust security. We do a lot of data science and machine learning on very complex and extensive datasets.

Research Blog: https://www.welivesecurity.com/

Luigi’s Box is a Bratislava-based company, providing an intuitive site-search and product discovery SaaS to its customers, primarily in e-commerce. With two of the co-founders having PhD degrees in Software Engineering, R&D is at the core of Luigi’s Box DNA. We strive to bring our clients smart, high-quality tools which are personalized, context-aware, and scalable.

PhD students and their research in 2021/2022 have been partially funded from the state budget by

Your future
starts at KInIT

Transform your curiosity into excellence. If you are interested in doing a PhD degree at KInIT, let us know and contact our admissions team. We can discuss your academic background and research ideas to ensure we have supervisory expertise to support you.

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