PhD student position on Argument Reconstruction

November 10th, 2009

The Leibniz Center for Law of the University of Amsterdam is an internationally recognized research center in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Law. We are seeking an outstanding PhD candidate for a new research project called IMPACT in the area of argument reconstruction and formalisation.

IMPACT is an international project, partially funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework programme. It will conduct original research to develop and integrate formal, computational models of policy and arguments about policy, to facilitate deliberations about policy at a conceptual, language-independent level. To support the analysis of policy proposals in an inclusive way which respects the interests of all stakeholders, research on tools for reconstructing arguments from data resources distributed throughout the Internet will be conducted. The key problem is translation from these sources in natural language to formal argumentation structures, which will be input for automatic reasoning.

The candidate will be working on the design of an argument reconstruction tool, which uses a library of argumentation schemes to support the manual reconstruction of arguments from natural language texts. Moreover, an extension of existing XML formats for weblogs, such as RSS or Atom, will be developed which would enable future weblogs to mark up the structure of arguments in articles in such a way as to enable the arguments to be automatically aggregated, analysed and visualized, without human intervention. The extension may be based on the argument elements of the Legal Knowledge Interchange Format (LKIF) developed previously by the partners in the ESTRELLA project (IST-2004-027655). The research will result in several publications, including a PhD thesis.
The appointment will be for a period of one year in the first instance. Provided the appointee performs adequately, the appointment will be extended for a further three years. At the end of this period, the appointee will be expected to defend his or her dissertation. The salary will be in accordance with the University regulations for academic personnel.
Highly qualified candidates are sought with a background in computational linguistics, or artificial intelligence, with an interest in argumentation. Experience with semantic web technology and practical IT skills are an advantage. Candidates should be proficient in English.
Applicants should submit: (i) Detailed curriculum vitae, (ii) Two references (and their email addresses), (ii) Transcripts of undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) studies and (iii) concise statement of their research interests (two pages max). Please send all documents in an envelop marked ‘confidential’ to:
Prof.dr. Tom van Engers,
Leibniz Center for Law,
PO Box 1030
1000 BA Amsterdam

Applications (with WWW pointers to studies or papers, if available) can also be submitted electronically (in plain ASCII or PDF format) to
For more information you can contact:
Dr. Radboud Winkels
Tel: +31 (0)20 525 3485

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