Published 25.04.2018

PhD position: dominance based fuzzy rough set models for preference learning in ordinal classification

Applications are invited for a fully-funded 4-year PhD scholarship within the Computational Web Intelligence (CWI) lab. CWI is a unit of the Fuzziness and Uncertainty Modelling (FUM) research group of the Department of Applied Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics (TWIST) at Ghent University. The research will be conducted in cooperation with the Laboratory of Intelligent Decision Support Systems (IDSS), an organizational unit within the Institute of Computing Science of the Poznań University of Technology.

The scholarship forms part of the project “Fuzzy sets and rough sets for machine learning, sentiment analysis and web intelligence” funded by the Odysseus programme of the Research Foundation-Flanders. Fuzzy sets and rough sets are well-established mathematical AI models designed to deal with imperfections in data: on the one hand, fuzzy sets model vague information, by recognizing that membership to certain concepts, or logical truth of certain propositions, is a matter of degree. On the other hand, rough sets deal with ambiguous information by approximating concepts, using information granules as building blocks. Here, we focus on the approximation of fuzzy concepts, exploiting the monotonic relationship between membership degrees of some features and the membership to decision classes.

In particular, the PhD scholarship involves the extension of the dominance based rough set approach (DRSA) by means of fuzzy logic, used at the stage of defining rough approximations. These fuzzy-rough approximations are then used in inductive learning of decision rules. The set of decision rules induced in this way is on one hand a preference model and on the other hand a basic classifier in an ensemble used for classification of unseen objects. It will build on the results of previous research conducted at CWI, IDSS and at the Department of Economics and Business of the University of Catania.


Your key responsibilities include:

  • Designing new fuzzy rough set models of DRSA, and performing analysis of their theoretical properties;
  • Designing new ML algorithms to test the proposed models;
  • Setting up experimental studies with benchmark data to evaluate your algorithms;
  • Working together with other PhD students and senior researchers involved in the project;
  • Reporting and presenting your research in top-tier international journals and conferences;
  • Successfully defending a doctoral dissertation at Ghent University, leading to a joint PhD degree in co-tutelle with Poznań University of Technology
  • Contributing (to a limited extent) to teaching and community engagement activities within the department.


We are especially interested in candidates with the following profile:

  • A Masters’ degree in Computer Science or Mathematics;
  • Very good to excellent study grades, as evident from university transcripts;
  • Excellent programming skills (e.g. Java, Python, …);
  • Good knowledge of machine learning, artificial intelligence and mathematical modeling;
  • Knowledge of multi-criteria decision aiding methodologies is a plus;
  • Strong motivation and aptitude to tackle challenging research problems and to complete the PhD within the prescribed period;
  • Good interpersonal and team-playing skills;
  • Proficiency in English and excellent writing skills;
  • Preparedness to spend at least six months of the scholarship at Poznań University of Technology.


We offer:

  • A four-year full-time (100%) PhD student position, leading to a joint doctoral degree awarded by Ghent University and Poznań University of Technology;
  • A competitive salary as set out by the Flemish Government;
  • A dynamic, multi-disciplinary and ambitious research team with a wide international network (Ghent University, University of Poznań, University of Catania);
  • Expertise, state-of-the-art research infrastructure;
  • A four-year Doctoral Training Program at Ghent University


How to apply

The scholarship’s prospective starting date is October 1, 2018. Interested candidates should e-mail:

  1. a detailed curriculum vitae;
  2. a motivation letter;
  3. BSc and MSc transcripts of grades and the MSc thesis;
  4. Two reference letters

to Dr. Chris Cornelis ( and Prof. Roman Słowiński ( by June 15th, 2018. Indicate “Application: PhD Researcher on dominance based rough set models for preference learning in ordinal classification” in the email subject.

Note that all applications will be thoroughly screened in order to satisfy the high scientific standards of our research group. The selection process will take place along the second half of June 2018. As part of this process, selected candidates will have to conduct a small research task to assess their programming and problem solving skills, and will be invited for an interview (possible by Skype).