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PhD studentship in Future Machine Learning Systems

The University of Edinburgh

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Edinburgh
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Please refer to advert
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 16th September 2020
Closes: 1st December 2020

One fully funded PhD position to work with Dr. Luo Mai in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, on a project titled “Future Machine Learning Systems”.

The aim of this project is to design and implement future software systems for large-scale machine learning. The proposed systems are expected to significantly improve the efficiency of training and serving emerging AI workloads, such as graph neural networks, large language models, deep reinforcement learning and federated learning. The applications of these systems are numerous: many AI-driven organisations, such as Google, Microsoft, Huawei, Hedge Funds and Banks, can largely benefit from the use of these systems in their AI infrastructures.

Candidate’s profile

  • Solid background in computer architectures and machine learning.
  • Proficient skills in C, C++ and Python.
  • A 1st class Bachelor’s degree and/or Distinction Master’s degree in computer science or highly related subjects.
  • Proficiency in English (both oral and written).
  • Knowledge of deep learning, optimisation, distributed systems and high-performance computing is highly desirable.
  • Familiarity with Dr Mai’s recent AI system research.

Studentship and eligibility

The studentship starting in the academic year 2020/21 covers:

  • Full time PhD tuition fees for a student with a Home/EU fee status (£4,407 per annum) or overseas fee status (£23,500 per annum)
  • A tax free stipend of GBP £15,285 per year for 3.5 years.
  • Additional programme costs of £1000 per year.

Application Information

Applicants should apply via the University’s admissions portal (EUCLID) and apply for the following programme: Informatics: ICSA: Computer Architecture, Compilation and System Software, Networks and Communication ( with a start date of 01 April 2021.

Applicants should state “Future Machine Learning Systems” and the research supervisor (Dr. Luo Mai) in their application and Research Proposal document.

Complete applications submitted by 1st December 2020 will receive full consideration; after that date applications will be considered until the position is filled. The earliest anticipated start date is 01 April 2021 but later start dates can be considered.

Applicants must submit:

  • All degree transcripts and certificates (and certified translations if applicable)
  • Evidence of English Language capability (where applicable)
  • A short research proposal (max 2 pages)
  • A full CV and cover letter describing your background, suitability for the PhD, and research interests (max 2 pages)
  • Two references (note that it the applicant’s responsibility to ensure reference letters are received before the deadline)

Only complete applications (i.e. those that are not missing the above documentation) will progress forward to Academic Selectors for further consideration.


The School of Informatics is one of the largest in Europe and currently the top Informatics institute in the UK for research power, with 40% of its research outputs considered world-leading (top grade), and almost 50% considered top grade for societal impact. The University of Edinburgh is constantly ranked among the world’s top universities and is a highly international environment with several centres of excellence.

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