PhD position in ’optimization in railway traffic control’

WorkplaceZurich, Zurich region, Switzerland


The Institute for Transport Planning and Systems at the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at ETH Zurich focuses research and education on planning and maintaining transport systems with emphasis on societal, spatial and logistical changes. We are inviting applications for a

Despite the excellent quality of railway systems in Switzerland, railway systems needs to increase their capacity, to match the ambitious targets from policy and environmental goals. Punctuality, travel time, and customer satisfaction should be kept at the same level, or even increased, to remain attractive, under increasing constraints. Railway Traffic Management Systems aim at managing uncertainty in real time, by adapting a pre-defined plan of railway operations to ever changing situations, reducing delays, improving performance. This project is to study from an academic and practical point of view many problems at the boundary of mathematical optimization, ICT, computer science, process management, which currently hinder large scale application and practical implementation of railway traffic management systems. Example of such problems pertain to estimation of current network state (observability, speed, accuracy); setup and properties of a closed loop decision support and/or control systems (controllability, convergence, accuracy); improving quality (optimization, decomposition, speed and scalability of mathematical optimization approaches updating train orders, times, routes. We envisage for tackling those challenges a shared approach where academia and practice develop together solutions in an open constructive environment of continuous feedback. We thus expect a doctoral student being able to have regular frequent interaction and presence on relevant research groups at Swiss Federal Railways SBB, and time and excellent opportunities for development of academic result, under the supervision at ETH Zurich.

You ideally have a Master’s Degree in engineering, applied mathematics, management/ decision sciences, econometrics, computer science or related fields. You are highly motivated, self-driven, you have excellent communication and writing skills (fluent spoken and written English is mandatory). Moreover, the following skills are expected of a promising candidate: (a) Computer science and ability to program independently complex software (b) Mathematical optimization (MILP, IP, LP), and/or control sciences, in particular decompositions techniques; (c)Team working and communication skills, also in German. Knowledge of German or similar languages is a plus; Otherwise, willingness to learn basic German within a short time horizon is appreciated. You enjoy working in an interactive international environment with other doctoral students, post-docs and senior scientists, referring continuously to practical problems and solutions. This position will be available as of June 2018 or upon agreement; the planned project duration is four years.

In your application, please refer to
and reference  JobID 39310.

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