Vacancy machine learning consultant

Do you want to work in an innovative and exciting environment? Would you like to contribute to new developments in artificial intelligence while supporting research and education in the Netherlands? If so, we welcome you to join SURF, the collaborative organisation for ICT for education and research in the Netherlands.

  • Educational background: hbo/wo
  • Location: Amsterdam/virtual
  • Employment: 24-40 hours
  • Closing date: 1st of May, 2022

About SURF and the Compute Services and the Machine Learning team

SURF is the collaborative organisation for IT for Dutch higher education and research. SURF works with educational and research institutions on IT facilities and IT innovation in order to make the most of the opportunities offered by digitisation.

Within SURF, the department Compute Services is responsible for the national supercomputer Snellius, as well as the national compute cluster, Lisa.  The majority of our users are researchers and educators at Dutch Universities, members, as well as international research institutes.

The Machine Learning team in particular contributes to service research and development as well as technical consultancy with  partners on both national and international projects. The team also works closely with SURF's Innovation Lab to design and execute innovative internal projects aimed at pushing the limits of SURF’s support capacity with AI. We are actively disseminating our acquired expertise to the scientific community, which usually involves publications, participating in courses, webinars, and public talks.

What makes your work so interesting and valuable? First of all, the social impact of your work. We have about a hundred members, including universities, hospitals and research institutes such as RIVM and KNMI. If you help them innovate, then you really contribute something to society.

What does the position entail?

As a machine learning consultant at SURF, you will be part of the department’s operational team, collaborating with the research and education communities to develop a set of services around artificial intelligence solutions. You will support the development of machine learning workflows (through performance optimization, scaling and algorithmic changes involved) and help co-design specific projects with relevant partners. Your general scientific culture will help you stay up-to-date with the latest machine learning development and spot opportunities for collaborations with our members. You will be part of a young and multicultural team of five, which will be extended to nine members.

What are you going to do exactly?

Your activities will likely include

  • Interacting with academic, public and private stakeholders in order to support research and education.
  • Co-develop and benchmark research software on large scale and specialised computing and data infrastructures.
  • Participating in projects at the intersection of high performance computing, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and various scientific fields, e.g. medicine, chemistry, systems.
  • Participating in projects bringing the state-of-the-art artificial intelligence capabilities to education partners in Dutch universities.
  • Participating in the outreach activities that could involve developing course materials, teaching, hosting webinars, organizing hackathons, disseminating scientific and engineering results, releasing public code, etc.
  • Keeping up-to-date with relevant information in the fields of machine learning and HPC to find bridges to SURF’s activities within operation, education and research.
  • Setting up and execute experiments to optimize services using operational data.
  • Consulting on high-level discussions about standards and architecture for AI projects.

A few examples of projects we have picked up in the past:

  • Application of transformer models for chemical reaction predictions
  • Semantic segmentation for histopathology on gigapixel images          
  • Performance analysis of Nvidia GPUs vs AMD GPUs for ML    
  • Deducing the properties of galaxy mergers using variational auto-encoders
  • Operational experiments with the federated learning framework
  • Using GANs to improve the quality of CT scans

In the future, the machine learning team will take on more projects related to education and conduct more internal experiments to assess the importance of machine learning trends for its members.

What we are looking for

Your skills include practical problem solving and the ability to think through technical problems. The ability to work in a multidisciplinary environment would be highly valued. You have a strong interest for machine learning and the ability to apply its principles to specific scenarios. You enjoy working in an independent manner and have the ability to work in a diverse team. You have excellent interpersonal and communicative skills and a good spoken and written command of English. You’re analytically strong, proactive and recognize yourself in the following:

  • An academic level of thinking and working: (MSc/PhD level) in artificial intelligence, computer science, mathematics or other related technical fields. This can be equated to professional experience.
  • Strong interest in the application of artificial intelligence to solve real problems in research in education.
  • Programming experience (at least C/C++/Java and/or Python).           
  • UNIX/Linux knowledge.
  • Knowledge of scripting languages (e.g. shell scripting, Perl).
  • Scientific and/or practical background in machine learning. Deep learning knowledge is an advantage.
  • Knowledge about efficient and/or parallel computer architectures and programming languages e.g. MPI.
  • Knowledge of (GP)GPU programming, CUDA and/or OpenCL and/or PGAS languages is considered a plus.

What we offer

A diversified and challenging job for 24-40 hours (0.6 - 1.0 FTE) in an informal and collegial atmosphere with a high ambition level. SURF offers extensive training opportunities and excellent fringe benefits, including 36 holidays and a 1st class NS business card. This position, depending on the job level you are graded at,  has a salary range of € 3.535, - to € 5.598,00- gross based on a full-time appointment. Our office is located at the Science park Amsterdam, with good public transport facilities nearby. The appointment is initially on the basis of a one-year contract, with the prospect of permanent employment in the event of good performance and unaltered business conditions.


Please send your motivation and CV by TBD to for the attention of Damian Podareanu.

You must be able to submit a Certificate of Good Conduct (Verklaring Omtrent Gedrag/VOG) during your first month of employment. Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.

You will meet the team members during the interview process. A more informal meeting with one of, or multiple team members to discuss the details of the job can also be arranged. A visit to the SURF office is also possible during the interview process.