Phd/doctoral Ghent, Belgium Apply
University Ghent
Coupure Links 653
9000 Ghent

Motivated by the recent advances in spatio-temporal data collection and the development of dedicated spatio-temporal modelling paradigms such as agent-based models, cellular automata, coupled-map lattices, and so on, we are looking for bright and enthusiastic students who want to conduct research on the edge between spatio-temporal modelling and data science. More specifically, we are looking for highly motivated students who are interested in and want to become methodological experts in one of the following fields:

-          Network models

-          Cellular automata

-          Discrete-state models

-          Agent-based models

The recruited PhD student is expected to

1.       develop and/or extend existing approaches involving, for instance, data mining, Lyapunov exponents, entropies, pattern recognition, and so on, to analyze such models;

2.       investigate how the dynamics evolved by these models is affected by their design parameters (topology, number of states, …);

3.       evaluate to what extent pattern recognition techniques can be used to exploit the evolved dynamics for tackling, amongst others, classification and identification problems;

4.       apply  1) and 2) to analyse spatio-temporal models that have been developed formerly at the involved research groups for describing the growth of fungi and the competition between micro organisms.

Yet, the specific objectives of the research project will be defined in consultation with student depending on his background and interests, and will be updated regularly as the research progresses.

Some useful references:

J.M. Baetens and B. De Baets. Phenomenological study of irregular cellular automata based on Lyapunov exponents and Jacobians. Chaos, 20:033112, 2010.

Baetens J.M., K. De Loof, and B. De Baets. Influence of the topology of a cellular automaton on its dynamical  properties. Communications in Nonlinear Science and Numerical Simulations, 18:651–668, 2013.
J. Machicao, J.M. Baetens, A.G. Marco, B. De Baets, and O.M. Bruno. A dynamical systems approach to the discrimination of the modes of operation of cryptographic systems. Communications in Nonlinear Science and Numerical Simulation, 29:102–115, 2015.

G.H.B. Miranda, J. Machicao, and O.M. Bruno. Exploring Spatio-temporal Dynamics of Cellular Automata for Pattern Recognition in Networks. Scientific Reports, 6: 37329, 2016.


The student is expected to be physically located at the Physics Institute São Carlos or the Institute of Mathematics and Computer Sciences, both part of the Universidade de São Paulo, São Carlos, Brazil, but will also have to spend at least six months out of the total of 4 years at Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium in order to secure his/her Joint PhD at the end of the PhD period. During those 4 years the recruited student will receive a scholarship from the Physics Institute São Carlos or the Institute of Mathematics and Computer Sciences, which will be supplemented with an additional scholarship during the period spent at Ghent University. More information can be obtained by contacting Jan Baetens, Ghent University ( or Odemir Bruno, Universidade de São Paulo ( 

Place of employment:

Instituto de Física de São Carlos- Universidade de São Paulo
Av. Trabalhador são-carlense, 400
CEP: 13566-590 - São Carlos - SP - Brasil

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Contact Person
Mr. Jan Baetens