[Comp-neuro] Fully funded PhD position available at Ulster University (UK), in Brain-inspired Self-repairing Electronic Systems.

Harkin, Jim jg.harkin at ulster.ac.uk
Sun Jun 28 14:22:38 CEST 2015

A fully funded PhD position is available at the Intelligent Systems Research Center, Ulster University, UK, in Brain-inspired Self-repairing Electronic Systems.

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship in Brain-inspired Self-repairing Electronic Systems. The proposed PhD project work is part of the recently funded 3½ year EPSRC project ‘SPANNER’ (EP/N00714X/1) which investigates the development of brain-inspired self-repairing systems, and is in collaboration with the Department of Electronics, University of York. The PhD project will build upon existing investigations at Ulster into the development of highly reliable, large-scale computing systems, where hardware building block have been developed to support brain inspired hardware architectures. In particular, at Ulster we have shown that astrocyte cells interact with neurons to detect when a fault has occurred in the connections making up a network of neurons. We have also developed computer models that demonstrate not only how faults are detected but also how the brain performs repairs. The proposed PhD project will investigate the development of a novel self-repair strategy for computing systems. The concept will explore current thinking on how the human brain performs repair using “astrocyte” cells (glia cells), and will explore how the key principle of this mechanism can be used in the context of electronic systems to provide a novel repair strategy in hardware. Currently an existing software model of a self-repairing astrocyte-neuron network is available and this will be an initial functional specification for the self-repairing hardware strategy.

The key research aim is to use the software model of the astrocyte-neuron network and explore how to effectively and efficiently map it to FPGA hardware. Synapse and neuron building blocks for FPGAs have been demonstrated by the Ulster team and will be initially used in the hardware design. The research will look to optimise the FPGA implementation for scalability and this will include the design of astrocyte cells, 3-terminal synapses and interconnectivity between cells, synapses and neurons. An FPGA-based implementation of a demonstrator will be explored to showcase the levels of resilience to injected faults. The successful candidate will be located at the Intelligent Systems Research Centre on the Magee campus of the Ulster University however, aspects of the work will require short research visits to collaborate with project partners at the University of York. Requirements Candidates should hold, or expect to hold a first or upper second class honours degree in Electronic/Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science or a cognate area. Applications will be considered on a competitive basis with regard to the candidate’s qualifications, skills experience and interests. Successful candidates will enrol as of 1st October 2015, on a full-time programme of research studies leading to the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

The studentship will comprise fees and an annual stipend of £14,057. It will be awarded for a period of up to three years subject to satisfactory progress and is tenable in the Faculty of Computing and Engineering.

Further Information
If you wish to receive further information please contact: Dr. Jim Harkin (jg.harkin at ulster.ac.uk<mailto:jg.harkin at ulster.ac.uk>)

For more information on applying go to www.ulster.ac.uk/research<http://www.ulster.ac.uk/research>
Apply online via www.ulster.ac.uk/applyonline<http://www.ulster.ac.uk/applyonline>

Closing date and interviews
The closing date for receipt of completed applications is 10th July 2015.
Interviews will be held in July 2015.


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