Bandit Models for Optimizing Collection

Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)
Reference Code
How to Apply

Create and release your Profile on Zintellect – Postdoctoral applicants must create an account and complete a profile in the on-line application system.  Please note: your resume/CV may not exceed 2 pages.

Complete your application – Enter the rest of the information required for the IC Postdoc Program Research Opportunity. The application itself contains detailed instructions for each one of these components: availability, citizenship, transcripts, dissertation abstract, publication and presentation plan, and information about your Research Advisor co-applicant.

Additional information about the IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program is available on the program website located at:

If you have questions, send an email to  Please include the reference code for this opportunity in your email. 

Application Deadline
2/28/2022 6:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

Research Topic Description, including Problem Statement:

The “multi-armed bandit” problem (named for an array of slot machines with unknown payouts) provides a general framework for selecting among alternatives with uncertain values. Variations have been studied across disciplines and the literature has been broadly applied to problems which feature exploration-exploitation tradeoffs including experiment design, advertising, sales, recommender systems, and anomaly detection.

Several problems across the Intelligence Community (IC) involve an exploration-exploitation tradeoff, and may benefit from being investigated from this perspective. Research for this topic should:

  • Establish an appropriate formalism which models a suitable IC problem as a multi-armed bandit problem. Assess the state of the art algorithms appropriate for the formalized problem.
  • Investigate how existing algorithms and methods can be adapted or extended to meet the domain specific challenges of the IC.

Example Approaches:

A few example problems that may provide suitable directions for this research:

  • Improve tasking of remote sensing assets in order to maximize the intelligence value of collections.
  • Improve tasking of space object surveillance and identification assets in order to find new and characterize objects while maintaining custody of previously detected objects.
  • Design recommender systems for intelligence analysts.

Relevance to the Intelligence Community:

This research aims to apply a fresh perspective to enduring IC problems. If successful, it will connect them to a growing body of literature, which may continue to provide new approaches.

Key Words: Multi-Armed Bandits, Bayesian Inference, Information Theory, Machine Learning


Postdoc Eligibility

  • U.S. citizens only
  • Ph.D. in a relevant field must be completed before beginning the appointment and within five years of the application deadline
  • Proposal must be associated with an accredited U.S. university, college, or U.S. government laboratory
  • Eligible candidates may only receive one award from the IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program

Research Advisor Eligibility

  • Must be an employee of an accredited U.S. university, college or U.S. government laboratory
  • Are not required to be U.S. citizens
Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Doctoral Degree.
  • Academic Level(s): Postdoctoral.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Chemistry and Materials Sciences (12 )
    • Communications and Graphics Design (2 )
    • Computer, Information, and Data Sciences (16 )
    • Earth and Geosciences (21 )
    • Engineering (27 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (14 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (45 )
    • Mathematics and Statistics (10 )
    • Other Non-Science & Engineering (2 )
    • Physics (16 )
    • Science & Engineering-related (1 )
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (27 )

The ORISE GO mobile app helps you stay engaged, connected and informed during your ORISE experience – from application, to offer, through your appointment and even as an ORISE alum!