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Scientific activities / projects

Anomaly detection for cosmic-ray tomography

Starting date

1 July 2021

Duration of contract

2 years with the possibility of extension


According to the German TVöD 13

Type of employment

Full-time (part-time possible)

The safety and security of critical infrastructures is an essential foundation for the economic prosperity and stability of governments and societies. The Institute for the Protection of Maritime Infrastructures focuses on this challenge and develops new concepts, approaches and technologies that may be used to analyse and enhance the safety and security of maritime infrastructures regarding people, technologies and systems.

One focus of the institute is muon tomography, which represents an innovative and promising new approach for imaging three-dimensional volumes. As a member of the H2020 funded SilentBorder project, the institute will contribute to the development of a tomographic scanning technology for trucks and sea containers based on the natural flux of highly energetic atmospheric muons, produced as a result of the interaction of cosmic radiation with the air molecules. Within SilentBorder a prototype system will be constructed. Tomographic algorithms will also be developed and combined with state-of-the-art machine learning techniques, to develop a fully automated threat detection system which is safe for use in the presence of humans

This position involves the development and evaluation of algorithms for the detection of rare anomalies in the measured data of a tomography system using natural cosmic rays and the resulting atmospheric muons. The developed algorithms are tested to evaluate their ability to detect and localise anomalies in measured density distributions. The density distributions result from tomographic reconstruction algorithms provided by project partners. The anomalies to be detected may, for example, be indicative of contraband hidden between items of similar density. Positively evaluated algorithms will be integrated into the analysis chain of the tomographic system as additional input for classification algorithms that are being developed in parallel by the project partners. In addition, you will study the possibility to transfer your methods to further detector systems.

Your tasks will include:

  • development, implementation, optimisation and comparison of suitable algorithms for anomaly detection and rare event identification
  • profiling of developed algorithms to determine and optimise the computational power and execution time per data frame
  • testing and validation of implemented algorithms; comparison of predictions of developed algorithms on data known to contain anomalies and data free of anomalies
  • integration of positively evaluated algorithms into the final analysis chain with the support of the project partners

We offer you the possibility to do a PhD.

Your qualifications:

  • completed scientific university studies (master or diploma) in computer science, physics, applied mathematics or comparable
  • experience in the development of algorithms using machine learning methods
  • experience in scientific writing and presentation of results
  • excellent programming skills (Python, C/C++)
  • very good communication skills
  • knowledge of the English language, both written and spoken

Your benefits:

Look forward to a fulfilling job with an employer who appreciates your commitment and supports your personal and professional development. Our unique infrastructure offers you a working environment in which you have unparalleled scope to develop your creative ideas and accomplish your professional objectives. Our human resources policy places great value on a healthy family and work-life-balance as well as equal opportunities for persons of all genders (f/m/x). Individuals with disabilities will be given preferential consideration in the event their qualifications are equivalent to those of other candidates.

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Technical contact

Dr. Maurice Stephan
Institute for the Protection of Maritime Infrastructures

Phone: +49 471 92419-942

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Vacancy 56826

HR department Göttingen

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DLR site Bremerhaven

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DLR Institute for the Protection of Maritime Infrastructures

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