[Comp-neuro] Open position for PhD/postdoc position at Ghent University

Benjamin Schrauwen bschrauw at elis.ugent.be
Mon Jun 22 22:08:28 CEST 2009

One open PhD or postdoc position in "learning dynamic feature  
hierarchies using reservoir computing" is available at the Reservoir  
Lab (http://reslab.elis.ugent.be), part of the Electronics and  
Information Systems Department, faculty of Engineering of the Ghent  
University, Belgium (http://ugent.be).

The research will take place in the recently started “Self-organized  
Recurrent Neural Learning for Language Processing” (ORGANIC) project,  
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).

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, the deeply hierarchical approach, the adoption of  
unsupervised and supervised learning strategies, and the capacity to  
adapt almost instantly to new circumstances. Why not try to build an  
automatic speech recognizer and handwriting recognition engine that  
incorporates the same principles?

The research concerns the investigation of architectures and  
algorithms for the efficient learning of large recurrent neural  
networks hierarchies 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 domain is mainly speech  
recognition, but also off-line handwriting recognition.

Candidates should have a Masters or PhD degree in Electrical, Computer  
or Physics Engineering; or in Physics, Mathematics, Computational  
Neuroscience or Computer Science. A good knowledge of English is  
essential. The ideal candidates have some acquaintance with Machine  
Learning, programming (Python, Matlab, ...), statistics, signal  
processing, speech recognition, or control engineering.

We offer an opportunity to perform three years of research and to  
obtain a doctoral degree in this domain (if applicable). 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,  
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).

To apply, please send an email to Benjamin Schrauwen (Benjamin “dot”  
Schrauwen “at” UGent “dot” be) with: a detailed curriculum vitae (with  
your course program and grades), and a brief introduction of your  
research interests and plans. The position is available now.

With kind regards,

Benjamin Schrauwen

- Dr. ir. Benjamin Schrauwen
- Reservoir Lab, Electronics and Information Systems Department
- Faculty of Engineering Sciences, Ghent University
- St. Pietersnieuwstraat 41, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
- work phone: +32-9-264.95.26
- website: http://reslab.elis.ugent.be/

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