[Comp-neuro] Several fully funded PhD positions at Ghent University
Benjamin.Schrauwen at elis.UGent.be
Fri Jan 9 14:43:12 CET 2009
Several fully funded Ph.D. positions in machine learning, speech
recognition, handwriting recognition and robotics are available at the
Reservoir Lab (http://reslab.elis.ugent.be) and the Speech Lab
(http://speech.elis.ugent.be), both part of the Electronics and
Information Systems Department, faculty of Engineering of the Ghent
University, Belgium (http://ugent.be).
Current state-of-the-art speech & handwriting recognition systems
still perform much worse than human beings who can effortlessly decode
the speech or handwriting of most people, even in fairly adverse
conditions (e.g. the presence of noise in case of speech recognition).
The fact that the human brain works so efficiently is owed to its
self-organizing capacity, its deeply hierarchical approach, its
adoption of unsupervised and supervised learning strategies, its
capacity to adapt almost instantly to new circumstances, etc. Why not
try to build an automatic speech recognizer and handwriting
recognition engine that incorporates the same principles? This is
exactly what we will do in two recently approved projects:
* "Self-organized Recurrent Neural Learning for Language Processing"
(ORGANIC), funded by the European Commission within the 7th Framework
Program. Details about the project can be found at the preliminary
reservoir computing website (http://reservoir-computing.org).
* "Reservoir Computing for auditory pattern recognition" (RECAP),
funded by the Research Program of the Research Foundation - Flanders
The research concerns the investigation of architectures and
algorithms for the efficient learning of large recurrent neural
networks based on the Reservoir Computing concept (where only a linear
readout layer is learned in a supervised way whereas the recurrent
connections are fixed or trained in an unsupervised way). Important
research topics are the unsupervised learning of a large hierarchy of
recurrent sub-layers, and the integration of various adaptation
techniques. The application domains are off-line handwriting
recognition, speech recognition and various aspects of robotics (such
as robot localization, motion control, ...). So far we were able to
demonstrate that reservoirs can give rise to the robust recognition of
digits spoken or written in isolation, but now we want to demonstrate
that they can also yield robust recognition of continuous speech and
handwriting (large vocabulary).
Candidates should have a Masters degree in Electrical, Computer or
Physics Engineering; or in Physics, Mathematics or Computer Science. A
good knowledge of English is essential. No professional background is
required, but the ideal candidates have some acquaintance with Machine
Learning, programming (Python, Matlab, ...), statistics, signal
processing, speech recognition, control engineering, or robotics.
What we offer
We offer an opportunity to perform at least three years of research in
a new promising domain, and to get a doctoral degree in this domain.
There will be ample opportunities for establishing international
contacts (stays at partner universities, participation to
international conferences). As an employee of the university you will
receive a competitive salary (starting with a net monthly salary of
approximately 1.600?) as well as excellent secondary benefits (holiday
allowance, etc.). Belgium was ranked first on the ?Best Countries for
Academic Research? worldwide list (The Scientist, 2007), and Ghent
University was appointed second place on the ?Best Places to Work in
Academia? non-US list (The Scientist, 2006).
Application and timing
If you are interested in one of the Ph.D. vacancies, please send in
electronic format to Benjamin Schrauwen (Benjamin "dot" Schrauwen "at"
UGent "dot" be): a detailed curriculum vitae, a motivation letter,
your course program, your grades, two letters of recommendation and,
if applicable, a publication list and selected publications. Do also
mention your topics of preferences within the projects (e.g. robotics,
speech, no preference, etc.). Some positions start on April 1, 2009,
others in September 2009, meaning that persons who expect to graduate
in July 2009 are welcome to apply. Applications which are received
before February 1, 2009 get priority.
With kind regards,
Benjamin Schrauwen and Jean-Pierre Martens
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