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MSCA-COFUND-CLEAR-Doc - PhD Position #CD22-04: Towards a dynamic vehicle routing problem in cyber-physical systems


Job Information

Université Gustave Eiffel
Research Field
Computer science
Researcher Profile
First Stage Researcher (R1)
Application Deadline
Type of Contract
Job Status
Hours Per Week
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND
Marie Curie Grant Agreement Number
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

Offer Description

Cyber-physical systems

Recent technological advances have allowed the emergence of cyber-physical systems (CPS) that will profoundly impact the management of production systems, for both goods and services. The transportation of goods in big cities is one of the challenging issue regarding the increase of urban transportation demand for freight (Behiri et al. 2018; Sahli et al. 2022). Indeed, the distributed nature of cyber-physical systems suggests the evolution of decision-making architectures from a hierarchical mode to a heterarchical or hybrid mode. The work of Monostori et al. (2016) highlights the necessary developments of decision-making processes in the case of production systems to take full advantage of the benefits of CPS. The latter benefits concern responsiveness, flexibility, and adaptability to recurrent changes in the environment (representing the decision problem input data). Similarly, transportation systems are also subject to many changes at the operational level regarding the duration of trips, the addition or cancellation of new customers to deliver or the modification of desired delivery dates. Thus, cyber-physical systems offer an opportunity to increase reactivity for vehicle routing problems (VRP) that dominate urban freight distribution.

Vehicle Routing Problem

The vehicle routing problem has been extensively studied in the literature considering different deterministic variants such as the capacitated VRP, time-dependent VRP, periodic VRP, VRP with time windows, VRP with pickup and delivery, VRP with heterogeneous fleet, VRP with multiple depots, or even with backhauls (Lin et al., 2014). More recent variants consider electric vehicles with constraints related to battery charging (Kancharla & Ramadurai, 2020; Kucukoglu et al., 2021).

The evolution of the e-commerce services generates an increase in the dynamics of delivery demands. Hence, in order to take into account the real context it is mandatory to consider the data dynamics when solving the VRP. A state of the art survey related to dynamic VRP is presented in (Pillac et al. 2013). Several objective functions have been considered beyond cost such as service rate, revenue or travel time (Montoya-Torres et al., 2015). Other works approach the problem through its stochastic version so as to integrate the variability of travel time or customer demand (DS-CVRPTW). This problem has been formalized using a multi-agent decision model and a deep neural network to learn the best decision rules (Bono et al., 2021).

Thesis expected contribution

The communication capability of vehicles provides new opportunities for the adaptation and optimization of distribution routes to consider changes in delivery data. To the best of our knowledge, the only work that addresses the evolution of the VRP in a cyber-physical context is that of Lee et al. (2022). However, the proposed approach remains classical as it is a metaheuristic based on Ant Colony (Nested MAX-MIN Ant System) and the innovation lies in the deployment at the scale of the city of Hong Kong in an instrumented environment of sensors allowing data collection.

In this thesis, we propose to better exploit the potential of CPSs and introduce collaborative approaches to ensure a trade-off between decision-making responsiveness and overall delivery performance. Cyber-physical systems bring a shift in the paradigm by providing a more favorable conceptual framework to improve responsiveness that, in the case of a VRP, would allow to take on new customers for each of the vehicles or to adapt the tour according to the traffic condition without restarting the computation from scratch.


1- Review of current literature exploiting collaborative decision strategies and optimization techniques for VRPs

2- Design of an architecture of VRP decision entities in a CPS context. This architecture should promote collaboration between entities in order to generate solutions that respond to changes in the data (new customers, changes in travel times, etc.).

3- Design of novel algorithms adapted to the collaborative approach exploiting tools from game theory (Lakshminarayana et al., 2021), statistical learning (Chafaa et al., 2022) and operations research.

4- Validation of the proposed algorithms using instances from the literature and/or case studies.


Behiri, W., Belmokhtar-Berraf, S., Chu, C. (2018). "Urban freight transport using passenger rail network: Scientific issues and quantitative analysis", Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, 115, 227-245

Bono, G., Dibangoye, J.S., Simonin, O., Matignon, L., Pereyron, F. (2021), “Solving Multi-Agent Routing Problems Using Deep Attention Mechanisms”. IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, 22, 12, 7804-7813.

Chafaa, I., Negrel, R., Belmega, E.V., Debbah, M. (2022), "Self-supervised deep learning for mmWave beam steering exploiting sub-6 GHz channels". IEEE Trans. on Wireless Commun.

Lakshminarayana, S. Belmega, E.V., Poor, H. V. (2021), "Moving-Target Defense Against Cyber-Physical Attacks in Power Grids via Game Theory". IEEE Trans. on Smart Grids.

Kancharla, S.R. , Ramadurai, G. (2020), “Electric vehicle routing problem with non-linear charging and load-dependent discharging”. Expert Systems with Applications, 160 , 113714

Kucukoglu, I., Dewil, R., Cattrysse, D. (2021), “The electric vehicle routing problem and its variations: A literature review”. Computers & Industrial Engineering, 161, 107650

Lee, C.K.M., Ng, C.K., Chung, S.Y., Keung, K.L. (2022), “Cloud-based Cyber-Physical Logistics System with Nested MAX-MIN Ant Algorithm for E-commerce logistics”. Expert Systems with Applications, 211.

Lin, C., Choy, K. L., Ho, G. T. S., Chung, S. H., Lam, H. Y. (2014). “Survey of green vehicle routing problem: Past and future trends. Expert Systems with Applications”, 41, 1118–1138.

Monostori, L., Kádár, B., Bauernhansl, T., Kondoh, S., Kumara, S., Reinhart, G., Sauer, O.,Schuh, G., Sihn, W., Ueda,K. (2016), “Cyber-physical systems in manufacturing”. CIRP Annals, 65 (2), 621-641.

Montoya-Torres, J.R., López Franco, J., Nieto Isaza, S., Felizzola Jiménez, H., Herazo-Padilla, N. (2015), “A literature review on the vehicle routing problem with multiple depots”, Computers & Industrial Engineering, 79, 115-129.

Pillac, V., Gendreau, M., Guéret, C., Medaglia, A. L. (2013), “A review of dynamic vehicle routing problems”. European Journal of Operational Research, 225 (1), 1–11.


Research Field
Computer science
Education Level
Bachelor Degree or equivalent
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.

Additional Information

  • High-quality doctoral training rewarded by a PhD degree, delivered by Université Gustave Eiffel
  • Access to cutting-edge infrastructures for research & innovation.
  • Appointment for a period of 36 months based on a salary of 2 700 € (gross salary per month).
  • Job contract under the French labour legislation in force, respecting health and safety, and social security: 35 hours per week contract, 25 days of annual leave per year.
  • International mobility will be mandatory
  • An international environment supported by the adherence to the European Charter & Code.
  • Access to dedicated CLEAR-Doc trainings with a strong interdisciplinary focus, together with a Career development Plan.
Eligibility criteria

Applicants must fulfil the following eligibility criteria:

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career (career breaks excluded) and not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Career breaks refer to periods of time where the candidate was not active in research, regardless of his/her employment status (sick leave, maternity leave etc). Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must fulfil the transnational mobility rule: incoming applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 previous years.

One application per call per year is allowed.

Applicants must be available full-time to start the programme on schedule (November 1st 2023).

Application rules are enforced by the French doctoral system which specifies a standard duration of 3 years for a full-time PhD together with the MSCA standards and the OTM-R European rules as follows.

Citizens of any nationality may apply to the programme.

There is no age limit.

Selection process

Please refer to the Guide for Applicants available on the CLEAR-Doc website

Additional comments
  • The First step before applying is contacting the PhD supervisor. You will not be able to apply without an acceptation letter from the PhD supervisor.
  • International mobility: Please contact the PhD supervisor for any additional detail on job offer and the international Mobility
  • Please contact the PhD supervisor for any additional detail on job offer.
  • There are no restrictions concerning the age, gender or nationality of the candidates. Applicants with career breaks or variations in the chronological sequence of their career, with mobility experience or with interdisciplinary background or private sector experience are welcome to apply.
  • Support service is available during every step of the application process by email:
Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)

Number of offers available
Université Gustave Eiffel
Île de France
Postal Code
5, Boulevard Descartes


5, Boulevard Descartes
Postal Code