PhD scholarship in Machine Learning Techniques for Communication over the Fiber-Optic Channel

Monday 01 Mar 21

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Applications are invited for a 3-year PhD position funded by the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks: ‘MENTOR -Machine LEarning in Optical NeTwORks’. The objective of the MENTOR project is to develop novel machine learning based strategies for communication over the nonlinear optical fiber channel. The start date is flexible, but preferably before August 1, 2020. The project is interdisciplinary and will cover topics within the field of machine learning and optical communication. The project will be carried out in Machine Learning in Photonic Systems (M-LiPS), group. The group has a strong track record and and industry collaboration in the application of machine learning techniques to optical communication systems and photonic systems in general.

This Ph.D. project will explore the latest advances within machine learning to enable nonlinear-distortion free communication over the optical fibre channel. It will be explored how to explore machine learning techniques to enable spectrally efficient and robust  optical communication systems covering ultra-wide band transmission (O+E+S+C+L band). More specifically, the application and efficient training for auto-encoders will be investigated.  The project will cover both algorithm development as well as experimental implementations. 

Responsibilities and qualifications
This PhD position will investigate the research topics below using both theoretical and experimental methods, but not limited to these topics:

  • Develop novel machine learning based transmitter and receiver schemes
  • Develop novel training algorithms for deep neural networks
  • Investigate the impact of non-ideal transmission schemes on the performance of the algorithms
  • Test the developed algorithms in an experimental test-bed

You must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

You are expected to have experience with development of machine learning algorithms and coherent optical communication systems.

Moreover you shall have additional skills as:

  • Good understanding of digital communications
  • Good theoretical understanding of nonlinear optics
  • Experience with machine learning techniques (expectation maximization algorithms, neural networks, Guassian processes, etc.)
  • Experience using Python, MATLAB or similar
  • Experience with software for version control such as git
  • Ability to work independently, to plan and carry out complicated tasks
  • Good communication skills in English, both written and spoken
  • Innovative skills and the ability to generate new ideas

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Professor Darko Zibar. 

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

Workplace will be at DTU Fotonik, DTU Lyngby Campus.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Professor Darko Zibar ( The following paper is a good indication of the nature of the project and good starting point to get familiar with the topic: 

  • Ognjen Jovanovic, Metodi Plamenov Yankov, Francesco Da Ros, Darko Zibar, ” Gradient-free training of autoencoders for non-differentiable communication channels,”

You can read more about DTU Fotonik at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 1 May 2021 (Danish time)Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply. 

DTU Fotonik has 210 employees with competences in optics and is one of the largest centers in the world based solely on research in photonics. Research is performed within optical sensors, lasers, LEDs, photovoltaics, ultra-high speed optical transmission systems, bio-photonics, nano-optics and quantum photonics.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,000 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.