Thursday, March 9, 2023

[DMANET] Ph.D. position in a Horizon Europe project at IMT Atlantique

We are looking for a Ph.D. student to work at IMT Atlantique (within the
Horizon European-funded ALICIA project) on combining reinforcement learning
and operation research approaches for process planning.

*Description of IMT Atlantic*

IMT Atlantique is a top-level engineering school, a technical university,
under the aegis of the Ministry of Industry and the digital sector formed
from the merger of two renowned schools (Télécom Bretagne and École des
Mines de Nantes). It focuses on digital technology, energy, and the
environment with the objective of contributing to economic development
through education, outstanding research, and innovation. Since its creation
on January 1, 2017, IMT Atlantique has inherited all of the research and
innovation activities of Télécom Bretagne and École des Mines de Nantes.
This new establishment comprises 13 departments of teaching and research,
involved in six research labs. With more than 1000 publications each year
(400 of which are A Rank), the research at IMT Atlantique is carried out by
290 permanent researchers and lecturers, 110 non-permanent researchers, and
over 300 doctoral students. The research production places IMT Atlantique
among the top 10 in France.

*Description of the Thesis*

The assembly line design problem includes decisions such as the number of
stations, the assignment of tasks to stations, the assignment of equipment
to stations, and the selection of workers' profiles, among others. The
objective is to ensure the line achieves the desired throughput at minimum
costs. The input of the problem is the family of products to assemble on
the line. More precisely, for each model variant, we are given the set of
tasks, the durations of the tasks, and the required pieces of equipment.
However, nowadays, assembly lines are modified every 6 months to account
for modifications of the product family. The modification of the product
family is unavoidable (to follow the technological improvements of the
product, because of changes in supplies, ...). The challenge is thus to
design a line that can smoothly be reconfigured over the next 10 years to
follow the changes in the product requirements.

The assembly line design problem involves line balancing, and operation
research methods such as branch-and-price, or dynamic programming often
perform well to solve the deterministic problem. These methods must be
adapted to solve the stochastic and dynamic variant of the problem, where
the future variants of the products are unknown. Reinforcement learning is
a broad field that gather methods from different communities, and that are
usually well suited to solve the stochastic dynamic problem. In this
thesis, we will develop approaches that combine reinforcement learning and
operation research to solve the process planning problem in a stochastic
dynamic environment.

*Description of the research project ALICIA*

The Ph.D. will take place in the Horizon Europe-funded research project
ALICIA. ALICIA is a research and innovation activity, and the thesis has a
clear focus on academic research. Nevertheless, the Ph.D. student will have
the opportunity to validate the developed tools on several use cases from
the projects, and to discuss with technology providers that might further
develop the tool in view of commercialization (after the thesis). In
addition, the thesis involves traveling a few times per year in Europe to
meet with the partners of the project.


The successful candidate must:

• Hold a Master's degree in operational research, computer science,
industrial engineering, applied mathematics, or in any other related field.

• Have a good knowledge of operational research (mathematical programming,
stochastic optimization, metaheuristics, etc.).

• Have good computer programming skills.

• Have good organizational and communication skills (ability to speak and
write in English).


· The Ph.D. is expected to start in October 2023, but the starting
date is flexible.

· The duration of the contract is 36 months.

· Gross annual salary 25000-28000 euros.

*Application deadline: *April 10, 2023*. *

To apply, please send a CV, a cover letter, and your master's transcripts

*Contact for information on the job and application: *

Simon Thevenin,

Milad Elyasi,


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