[Comp-neuro] 3-year Research Associate in ActiveAI - University of Sheffield, UK

Michael Mangan m.mangan at sheffield.ac.uk
Thu Jul 11 12:35:09 CEST 2019

Are you a talented and ambitious computer scientist, computational
neuroscientist or machine learner? Are you looking for an opportunity to
develop the next generation AI algorithms that are required to realise the
third wave of AI? We have a rare opportunity for a Research Associate to
work on this problem within the Dept of Computer Science at the University
of Sheffield (a world top 100 university) and in collaboration with
world-leading neuroscientists in Australia through the prestigious £1.2m
EPSRC Centre to Centre project (ActiveAI: active learning and selective
attention for rapid, robust and efficient AI).

Your primary role will be to develop a new class of ActiveAI controllers
for problems in which insects excel but deep learning methods struggle.
These problems have one or more of the following characteristics: (i)
learning must occur rapidly, (ii) learning samples are few or costly, (iii)
computational resources are limited, and (iv) the learning problem changes
over time. Insects deal with such complex tasks robustly despite limited
computational power because learning is an active process emerging from the
interaction of evolved brains, bodies and behaviours. Through a virtuous
cycle of modelling and experiments, you will develop insect-inspired
models, in which behavioural strategies and specialised sensors actively
structure sensory input while selective attention drives learning to the
most salient information, massively reducing the search space. In this way,
we will both advance neuroscience and enable ActiveAI solutions which are
efficient in learning and final network configuration, robust to real-world
conditions and learn rapidly.

You will work under the supervision of Dr Mike Mangan, and Professors Eleni
Vasilaki and James Marshall, within the Department of Computer Science (top
five in the UK in the most recent REF) in partnership with UK-based
research collaborators in the £4.8m EPSRC Brains on Board Programme Grant.
You will also lead a new collaboration with world-leading research partners
in Australia (led by Prof Andrew Barron, Macquarie University) through
extended secondments.

You should be educated to PhD level (or be close to completion) in a
related computational field (or equivalent industrial experience), with
excellent skills in computational modelling, ideally the use of neural
networks to either model biological systems or to solve complex tasks.
Previous experience of GPU computing, embedding models onto robots,
verification of models through neuroscientific or behavioural assays, are
desirable although not essential, but candidates must have an aptitude for
learning or improving these skills.
The formal advert with application guidelines can be found here ->

Dr. Mike Mangan

*Lecturer in Machine Learning & RoboticsSheffield Robotics & Dept of
Computer ScienceUniversity of Sheffield*
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