New Members

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Welcome! This page will get you started with all the practical things at the VU for both the Web & Media (W&M) group as well as the Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (KRR) group. To start, most of the employee-related vu services and sites require a login via your VU-net ID. You should get this ID at your welcome talk with the human resources department.


Useful sites

  • Intranet of the VU
  • Used for time declarations & leave requests
  • Intranet of the faculty. Usual information including organizational topics, personnel, financial, IT helpdesk, etc
  • Practicalities: Links to manuals on how to set up things like printing, your personal VU web page, email, etc. Page is in dutch, but the actual manuals are often in english. An english page (probably less exhaustive) can be found at here.

Weekly Artificial Intelligence (WAI) meetings

  • Each monday at 4 p.m. there is a weekly AI meeting for all Web and AI groups. Two people each give a 30 minute presentation about their research and work. Please subscribe to the mailing list
  • A more extensive introduction page can be found at the introduction page
  • The schedule of the WAI is found at here. The topics of the WAI talks are mailed around this list
  • Instructions for presenters can be found at the instruction page

Mailing lists to register for

Click on the links to register


  • A bi-weekly Semantic Web meeting on Monday between 16.00 and 17.00 for the KRR group and the Web & Media group. Topics vary. A schedule is found here. The topic of the meetings is mailed around using this list (though the list is used for other communication relevant to both groups as well).


  • The KRR mailing list, used for internal mail of the Knowledge Representation and Reasoning group.
  • The Biomedical KRR mailing list, used for internal mail of the KRR focused on (you guessed it) the biomedical domain.


Websites to register for


  • We use mendeley for our group publications. These get directly fed into our krr site. After registering on mendeley, join our group following this link.
  • Our krr site has a members section. Send Rinke Hoekstra an email to get on the site. Send him the link to your own VU site as well, together with your twitter name (if you have an account you use for work related stuff). Your twitter feed will then be published on the krr site as well.


  • Our web site has a members section. Send Chris Dijkshoorn (c.r.dijkshoorn at an email to get on the site. Send him the link to your own VU site as well, together with your twitter name (if you have an account you use for work related stuff). Your twitter feed will then be published on the WM site as well.

Your own homepage

  • Everybody has their own individual homepage, where you are pretty much free to do as you want. Ask any member of the group on how to set up your first simple page. We link to your individual page from the group page.

Other practicalities

Living in Amsterdam

This VU Brochure VU helps you with information on lots of practicalities related to the VU and living in the Netherlands/Amsterdam. Additionally, this site helps you with information related to living in the city of Amsterdam

VU card

To get your VU card (used for getting coffee, and opening the entrance door before 8am or after 6pm), fill in the form on this page


For every new member, our secretary Mojca Lovrenčak ( is the first resort whenever you have any questions or problems: university services, roomspace, deskspace, equipment, etc. Mojca should always be the first one you ask.


  • To apply for IT related things (e.g. access to a UTP wall socket, SQL database, generate a mailing list, etc), use this link
  • As a staff member you can go the VU gym for free under the VU Fit at Work programme, see the website of the sports centre for more information.
  • For new PhD students: the research school we take part in is called SIKS. You are strongly encouraged to follow symposiums/seminars/course/tutorial/etc. you find relevant or interesting. Registration to the research school is done via this link.
  • For airline tickets and hotels for business trips you can contact travel agent Ronald Hofmeester (Ronald [at] hofmeester [dot] com). This way you won't have to scour the Web for cheap tickets etc., another advantage is that oftentimes he can send the bill directly to the VU so you won't have to pay it and then wait for reimbursement.

Printing a poster

Print your poster using this web form Send an email to with a kostenplaats number, the PDF with your poster, the poster size, and whether you want it printed in glossy or standard paper.

KRR Calendar

  • The KRR group has its own google calendar. Contact anyone from the KRR group for an invite


When you need to book your a trip, we often use the services of Ronald Hofmeester:

You can only use this when you have a declaration number ('kostenplaats'). Make sure you mention this number in your contact with Ronald. He'll pass the invoice on to the VU.

WAI Presentations

The point of the WAI is to let your colleagues know what you are doing, not to give an in-depth lecture about certain algorithms or theories. Keep your presentation limited to things that are relevant to understand the main point of your talk, and accessible to the general AI public. There will not just be semantic web people, but also agents and robots people.

  • In order to ease the interaction with the audience, you should announce the purpose of your talk before you start. Some examples:
    • Rehearse a presentation for a conference,
    • Ask for feedback on an on-going project,
    • Discuss a new idea
    • Have a general discussion
  • In any case, the presentation must not be no longer than 30 minutes.

If you want to answer to some questions during the talk, be sure to manage your time accordingly. The WAI organiser will chair the session and indicate the beginning of the last 5 minutes relative to the half hour.

It is also important to note that:

  • A projector will be available on the spot but you need to bring your own laptop. Please be present 5 minutes before starting, so we can get everything connected and tested.
  • The time slot is fairly short. Please do not prepare too many slides (10-15 is probably about right depending on your style)
  • The presenter is responsible to timing his/her presentation and for managing discussions. Feel free to cut people short if their questions are irrelevant or if you do not have time to answer them. It's your show, and the WAI organiser is only responsible for stopping it after 30 minutes.

Accessing papers from home

Via the VU you are subscribed to a number of journals. You can freely access these via the VU network. However, if you are working from home, you might interested in this tutorial, where you configure your browser to use the VU as a proxy whenever you try to access one of these papers behind a paywall.


A list of software available to VU employees for download (e.g. microsoft office): here.


There are several options to choose from, when you require access to a server

  • + +
    • Managed and paid for by our groups
    • OPS: ~100 GB RAM: for light-weight hosting and work
    • D2S: ~250 GB RAM, and 1Tb of SSD disks: for number crunching
    • Eculture: ~250 GB RAM, 500GB SSD: for heavy hosting
    • Supports Linux Containers (a sort of light-weight virtual machine, where you have root access to)
    • To get an account, contact Jan Wielemaker, Marat Charlaganov, or Antonis Loizou.
    • After you get an account, see the file in the server home dir for more info
  • KRR Production Server
    • An external hosted machine for the KRR group, with a focus on uptime and stability (-not- computations)
    • At the moment, 8Gb of RAM. As it is a virtual machine, we could scale if up if needed
    • When to use: You have an application which is stable, which requires an extra focus on uptime, and does not consume a lot of resources
    • Contact Laurens Rietveld for an account
  • pcoms00[1|2]
    • Compute servers of the VU. You can log in with your VU-net ID
    • Limited on disk space, but ~120 Gb of RAM
    • When to use: for memory or CPU intensive jobs, or when D2S is a bit crowded. And, for when you won't need sudo rights!
    • now supports mounting via sshfs! (i.e. this solves some disk space issues). Mounting is possible from the /scratch dir, not your home dir. To mount for example your scratch dir from d2s, run: `sshfs<user> <mountdir>`. To unmount, run `fusermount -u <mountdir>`.
  • DAS4
    • The cluster managed by the VU. If you'd like to execute distributed algorithms in parallel (e.g. using hadoop), use this one.
    • Contact Kees Verstoep for an account
  • Surf Sara
    • Surf Sara is an organization supporting academia and research in the Netherlands
    • View their website for what they offer. In includes (amongh other things) a large scale visualization group, a cluster (larger than the DAS4), virtual machines (ranging up to 250Gb RAM), and big memory machines (up to 2Tb)
    • Use their contact form to apply for an account. Don't worry about the bill. Atm NWO pays for it
    • When to use: When D2S is crowded, or when you'd like a machine solely for you with enough resources for a longer period of time (maximum a couple of months though)

Practical tools

  • Cacoo: Draw diagrams online (supports concurrent editing). You can apply for an academic license.
  • Detexify: Classify latex symbols by drawing them
  • ShareLatex: Online concurrent editing of latex files

Finishing your PhD

  • See here for a pdf with lots of practicalities
  • Note that the costs that come with your defence (clothing for yourself and the paranimpfs, and printing costs of the dissertation) are deductable from your yearly tax (as are education costs)
  • Some places where you can print your dissertation:
    • Ipskamp drukkers: For around 600 euro you can print 50 full-color dissertations of around 200 pages
  • SIKS, our graduate school, can sponsor you for 200 euro (see here for more info)
  • Starting Jan 1 2016, a reimbursement of 500 euro for printing costs granted by the College of Deans will be abolished. The Faculty will reimburse for the printing costs of maximum 20 copies, with a maximum price of 400 euro.
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