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Open PhD position in AI

HPC Lab, ISTI-CNR, Pisa (Italy) is looking for a candidate to be enrolled in the Italian National PhD Program in AI ( on the following topic:

Extreme Federated Learning: geographically distributed and heterogeneous edge devices for human-centric AI

The PhD position focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of novel data-driven human-centered federated AI approaches for geographically distributed and heterogeneous computational resources such as edge computing environments. Edge computing advocates the allocation of computing power physically closer to where data is generated to allow for faster data processing, increased bandwidth, and ensured data sovereignty.

The research explores highly distributed and decentralized federated AI solutions for edge computing environments, considering the specific characteristics of edge devices (e.g., limited computing capacity, network connectivity, geographical position, etc.) and their interaction with both other edge devices and the users. In this context, research focuses on i) how to exploit local knowledge of an edge device to solve complex tasks by exchanging information with nearby devices; ii) new forms of human-AI interactions, enabling the implicit privacy awareness of decentralized systems and the transparency of the AI system.

The research will be based on a rigorous experimental methodology and the candidate is expected to test newly developed solutions against competitive state-of-the-art baselines on large publicly available benchmarks by using widely accepted evaluation protocols.

National PhD program in Artificial Intelligence

** Position type: doctoral fellowship, 3 years

** Starting date: 1st November 2022

** Location: HPC Lab @ ISTI-CNR, Pisa, Italy –

The PhD students will work in strict collaboration with researchers of the High Performance Computing Laboratory (HPC Lab) of ISTI-CNR in Pisa, Italy ( HPC Lab conducts research on algorithms and information systems dealing with computational and data-intensive problems in business, social, and knowledge-based applications. HPC Lab research areas include large-scale distributed and cloud systems, efficient information indexing and retrieval, big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, mobility analysis, information extraction, and semantic enrichment. The lab has a strong track record of impactful research and successful activities in European projects which is reflected in the many international collaborations with academia and industry.

The “AI & Society” PhD is part of the Italian National PhD Program in Artificial Intelligence, made of 5 federated PhD courses that bring together 61 universities and research institutions. The 5 PhD courses share a common basis in the foundations and developments of AI, and each one has an area of specialisation in a strategic sector of AI application. Each PhD course is organized by a lead university, in collaboration with the National Research Council of Italy – CNR:

Visit for more information on the “AI & Society” PhD program.

It will be possible (and advised) to organise one visiting student period abroad (typically, 6 months) during the PhD program. 

Application procedure

Step 1: Contact us for a preliminary discussion on the topic and the candidate’s motivations and skills. Please, include:

  • A complete CV, including exams taken during the University degrees with grades, (including, if already completed, the MSc final degree), and a link to the MSc. thesis;
  • a 1-page research statement showing motivation and understanding of the topic;
  • at least one (2 even better) contact person(s) who could act as reference(s).

This material, and any request for information, should be sent to the reference contact points (see below), with the subject: “PhD application to AI program at HPC Lab”.

Interviews with selected candidates will be organised based on the received expression of interest (Deadline: July 31, 2022). The position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate is identified. Interested candidates are thus strongly encouraged to send their applications as soon as possible.

Step 2: Apply to the following doctorate program (Deadline: August 8, 2022 h 13:00 CEST):

The applicants must pass the admission selection of the above calls to enroll in the PhD program.

Contact point and further inquiries

For the application or any additional information please send a message to: