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PhD Candidate in Rare Event Probability Estimations applied to Mid-Air Collisions

Zurich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW is one of Switzerland’s largest multidisciplinary universities of applied sciences, with over 13,000 students and 3,000 faculty and staff.

As one of the leading Engineering Faculties in Switzerland, the ZHAW School of Engineering (SoE) emphasises topics which will be relevant in the future. Our 13 institutes and centres guarantee superior-quality education, research and development with a focus on the areas of energy, mobility, information and health.

The ZHAW Centre for Aviation, in cooperation with ONERA(Office National d'Etudes et de Recherches Aérospatiales), is looking for an outstanding candidate, starting in January 2021, as:
PhD Candidate in Rare Event Probability Estimations applied to Mid-Air Collisions

PhD Candidate in Rare Event Probability Estimations applied to Mid-Air Collisions

The probability for mid-air collisions is an important factor to consider when it comes to aviation safety. However, mid-air collisions are extremely rare events. For this reason, the determination of mid-air collision rates based on real-world air traffic observations with traditional methods such as straightforward Monte-Carlo simulations becomes too computationally expensive to produce good results. Therefore, this PhD position focuses on the development of efficient data-driven techniques to quantify the probabilities associated with mid-air collisions. There are two main challenges to this thesis. First, realistic statistical models of aircraft trajectories will have to be explored. Second, advanced Monte Carlo simulation methods (importance sampling, importance splitting) shall be adapted to reduce computational costs for large-scale simulations. Subsequently, a combination of rare event simulation and filtering techniques could be analysed as part of the PhD project.

Your responsibilities are:

  • Data crunching, filtering, and clustering of air traffic trajectory data
  • Applied research in the field of Rare Event Probability Estimation and Collision Risk Modelling
  • Development of theoretically founded and practically tested methods to quantify the risk of collisions between two airplanes
  • Application of the developed methods to real world trajectories

The successful candidate has an excellent MSc in Mathematics, Data Science, Engineering, or another related field of study, with good knowledge and experience in a quantitative topic. She/he has a solid background in statistics, in data analysis, and good programming skills (python, R, Matlab). Very good English language skills are mandatory. Knowledge in aviation is an advantage, but not mandatory. The position is limited to 3 years.

The doctoral degree will be conferred by ISAE Supaero (Toulouse, France). The main work location is in Winterthur, Switzerland. However, regular stays in Toulouse will be required in the context of the PhD.

Can we answer further questions?
For more information regarding the vacancy please contact Dr. Michael Felux, Tel. +41 58 934 65 94, Email: felu@zhaw.ch.

Are you interested?
We are looking forward to receiving your application via online platform, attn Sarah Stüdli, Recruiting Manager: Cover letter indicating your motivation and expectations from this research, detailed CV and one page summary of your MSc degree. Please note that applications will only be accepted when submitted via our platform.

ZHAW Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften