Postdoc Computer Science & Electrical Engineering

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Job description

A central concern in smart city systems is the occurrence of function creep: the practice where tools designed with a specific use in mind, quickly get used for other goals as well. Actions such as software updates, cyberattacks, over-ambitiousness at government agencies, or hostile take-overs can change smart city systems to work beyond their intended goals.

While adaptability and updatability of digital systems is often hailed as a desirable feature, in some cases it may become easy to change the nature of a smart city system overnight by switching on some feature or updating the software. Legal guarantees will not be always effective against the repurposing of smart city systems for undesired uses.

Limiting the technical capabilities/functionalities of devices is a way to prevent undesired uses. This can be done via the hardware or software of sensors, communications modules, actuators and other parts of the system. Examples of software interventions are data minimization, multi-party computations, ledger technologies and federated learning. Examples of hardware approaches are, for instance, the limitation of maximum resolution by using mmwave sensing, using limited chip-sets, or limited communication. Both soft- and hardware approaches have their pros and cons. Which intervention should be used? Can they be combined? Related to this is the question of how we can easily spot whether undesired use of smart city systems actually occurs. Smart city systems require a framework of checks and balances.

The position will be with the Computer Science department at TU Delft, but the candidate should be available to work 3-4 days per week at the AMS Research Institute. The candidate will interact with researchers at TU Delft and AMS, but also with people at the municipality of Amsterdam.

The AMS Institute is a public-private institution founded in 2014 by Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University & Research, together with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. We are a young and ambitious international institute at the forefront of innovation, situated at the nexus between industry, government, and academia. Engaging and developing the latest technology and science with research, experiments, and projects in the city of Amsterdam, we take on the challenges posed by our rapidly urbanizing world.

Our mission is to develop a deep understanding of the city – sense the city – to design solutions for its challenges and integrate these into the city of Amsterdam.


Applicants must have a PhD degree in computer science, electrical engineering or a closely related field, but candidates with a Master degree and strong desire for innovation will also be considered. Background in Embedded Systems is required. The ideal candidate has programming skills, but also the ability to work with hardware. Expertise on machine learning, cyber security or cyber-physical systems is desired. The successful applicant should have excellent writing skills, a team player personality and the desire to work in a multidisciplinary and public-private collaboration. Speaking and understanding Dutch is considered an advantage, but not a prerequisite.

Conditions of employment

The position is for one year, with the possibility of extension. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation. An International Children's Centre offers childcare and there is an international primary school.

TU Delft (Delft University of Technology)

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

Faculty Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) brings together three disciplines - electrical engineering, mathematics and computer science. Combined, they reinforce each other and are the driving force behind the technology we use in our daily lives. Technology such as the electricity grid, which our faculty is helping to make future-proof. We are also working on a world in which humans and computers reinforce each other. We are mapping out disease processes using single cell data, and using mathematics to simulate gigantic ash plumes after a volcanic eruption. There is plenty of room here for ground-breaking research. We educate innovative engineers and have excellent labs and facilities that underline our strong international position. In total, more than 1,100 employees and 4,000 students work and study in this innovative environment.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science.

Additional information

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Marco Zuniga at

Application procedure

The vacancy will be open until filled. The planned starting date is the first quarter of 2022.

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply via the application button and add the following documents to your application:

  1. Detailed CV highlighting competitive academic performance.
  2. The CV should include the name and contact information of at least two referees.
  3. Optional: Motivation letter (max 1 page)
  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.
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