internship position at IMT Atlantique

Forum 'Stages' - Sujet créé le 12/09/2022 par SimonT (110 vues)

Le 12/09/2022 par SimonT :

Master internship position in a Horizon Europe project: stochastic programming for sustainable process planning.

We are looking for an intern to work on stochastic programming for process planning and assembly line balancing within the Horizon European-funded ALICIA project. The selected candidate is expected to continue in a Ph.D. program in the same project. The objective of the internship is to apply operation research methods for the sustainable design and reconfiguration of assembly lines.


Description of the Project ALICIA:

A large part of production assets such as robotic arms, and conveyor belts do not reach their maximal lifetime and become prematurely obsolescent. Anecdotal evidence from the automotive industry suggests that 60% to 70% of production resources are prematurely taken out of operation, scrapped, or at best sold for spare parts.

The aim of ALICIA is to create and demonstrate a Circular Manufacturing Ecosystem (CME) for production resources, such as robotic arms or conveyor belts. The underlying vision is that within five to ten years, production resources will be traded and reused to their maximum utility in-between factories in Europe, ultimately contributing to “closing the loop” of production assets as circular economy subjects.

The project aim will be achieved by integrating and demonstrating in two real industrial environments (at Continental and Comau) a combination of innovative and symbiotic digital tools as key enabling technologies behind the ALICIA CME, ultimately enabling to design, deploy, run, decommission and re-circulate second-hand production lines 40% faster, reduce material consumption by up to 80% and reuse up to 100% of the assets. The innovations behind ALICIA include a machine-readable ontology for mapping factory owner requirements, an AI-matchmaking engine for combining incumbent factory assets with second-hand assets coming from the ALICIA online marketplace, a Plug & Produce middleware for seamlessly connecting the production assets, and a Digital Shadow/Digital Twin to ramp-up and operate the ALICIA second-hand line. Novel Circularity-as-a-Service business models will be evaluated.

ALICIA addresses the EU “machinery and equipment” as well as “machinery repair service” market segments, which together contributed 288 Billion EUR in value added to the EU economy in 2018. ALICIA is expected to contribute to increasing the EU’s resilience against disruptions in global supply chains and significantly contribute to the creation of a circular economy.


Description of the internship:

The selected candidate will develop a matchmaking engine for matching factory-owner requirements regarding the second-hand line with available production resources. Such a tool will help the process engineer design the line by selecting the best combination of resources from the marketplace, in order to build a line that respects the production requirements, accounts for worker skills, minimizes the costs of the lines, and can be easily reconfigured to match future changes in the production requirements.

The matchmaking engine will rely on multi-stage stochastic programming to design the line while accounting for the entire life cycle, and thus future product generations. We will first design a deterministic model that decides on the modification of the line to handle the changes in the production requirement. The decisions include the machines and tools to buy and sell, the employee skills required, as well as the assignment of tasks to stations. The model will account for the constraints related with the production process, such as task precedence, incompatibility, etc. The objective will be to minimize the cost of the line and its reconfiguration, but also take into account additional factors such as the maximization of production resource reuse as opposed to the installation of newbuilt production resources. This model will be extended to account for the life cycle of the line. Based on historical changes in production requirements, we will generate a set of scenarios of the changes in the production requirement. These scenarios may correspond to slight modifications in the products (new features, change of specific element e.g., a screw), or change in the demand (and thus required throughput time). The scenarios may also incorporate issues in the production process such as machine breakdown. We will extend the deterministic mathematical model to incorporate these scenarios in a multi-stage stochastic program. This model accounts for the dynamic decision process where the line is reconfigured every time the production requirements change, and it seeks to optimize for the long-run expected reconfiguration and line costs. The main challenge is the combinatorial explosion in the number of decisions and in the number of scenarios. To alleviate this issue, we will investigate the use of approximate dynamic programming to approximate future costs and thus speed up the computations.



The successful applicant must:

  • Pursue a master in operations research, computer science, applied mathematics, or any related area.
  • Knowledge of statistics and probability.
  • Good computer programming skills.
  • Good organizational and communication skills.


Working conditions

The internship will be located on the campus of IMT Atlantique in Nantes, France, in the department DAPI (Automation, Production and Computer Sciences Department).

IMT Atlantique is a top-level engineering school, a technical university, under the aegis of the Ministry of Industry and the digital sector formed from the merger of two renowned schools (Te?le?com Bretagne and E?cole des Mines de Nantes). It focuses on digital technology, energy and the environment with the objective of contributing to economic development through education, outstanding research and innovation. Since its creation on January 1, 2017, IMT Atlantique has inherited all of the research and innovation activities of Télécom Bretagne and École des Mines de Nantes. This new establishment comprises 13 departments of teaching and research, involved in six research labs. With more than 1000 publications each year (400 of which are A Rank), the research at IMT Atlantique is carried out by 290 permanent researchers and lecturers, 110 non-permanent researchers and over 300 doctoral students. The research production places IMT Atlantique among the top 10 in France.

Start: February 2023.

Application deadline: October 15, 2022.

Contact for information on the job and application:       

Simon Thevenin,





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