Post-doctoral research position in humanoid cognitive robotics research

Last modified: 
Monday, February 9, 2015 - 13:02

Intelligent robotics research group at Aberystwyth University, Wales,
UK, announces:
   Post-Doctoral Research Associate vacancy, three-year fixed-term

The Project: “Developmental Algorithms for Robotics”
====================================================
The project aims to investigate a mechanism for robots, building on top
of basic spatial sensorimotor competencies, that drives the autonomous
development of new behaviours and self learning about novel events for
which they have no prior experience. This will involve (1) expanding
existing motor-babbling activity into object play behaviour, (2)
formulating play behaviour as a viable mechanism for autonomous learning
about unknown environments, (3) establishing an extended schema concept
as a mechanism for integrating memory, experience generalization and
action generation, (4) exploring action perception from the agent's
experience, and (5) close monitoring of the work with psychological data
and expert psychologists. The project will closely follow current
knowledge on infant development and aim to reproduce behaviour as
reported in the psychological literature. In particular the focus will
be on three areas of core knowledge: (1) Object understanding, (2)
Interaction with animate objects, and (3) Tool use. The work will be
supported by collaboration with leading developmental psychologists on
the project scientific advisory panel. This will produce models and
mechanisms that can be implemented and tested experimentally against
psychological benchmarks. The models will be validated with challenging
demonstrators based on a single humanoid robotic platform (iCub). As a
main outcome, the project will advance the understanding and application
of intrinsic motivations in autonomous learning systems and robots. This
overall goal will be achieved with the support of an International
Scientific Advisory Board, consists of: Kevin O'Regan, Jacqueline
Fagard, Merideth Gattis, David Whitebread, Giorgio Metta, QinetiQ and
Lego.

The Appointment (PDRA) – Scientific modeller
============================================
Applications are invited for the post of Post-Doctoral Research
Associate on this project at Aberystwyth University. The successful
applicant will have a relevant background, experience of research (as
demonstrated by PhD and/or publications), and proven abilities in
mathematical/scientific modelling. The main tasks will involve analysing
the psychological literature to develop models and experiments for
testing on an iCub humanoid robot. This will be supported by another
PDRA, and PhD student, who will have special responsibility for
implementing the models whilst maintaining and supporting the robot.
Other tasks include writing scientific documents and papers, documenting
experiments and writing reports, supervising a PhD student,
responsibility for day-to-day management of project needs, and
collaborating with the scientific advisory panel and other researchers.
Regular European travel will be involved.

This post is available on a three-year fixed-term contract, funded by
the EPSRC. Salary will be on the IA scale for Research Staff in the
range: £32,277 - £37,384 (depending upon qualifications and experience).
We expect to appoint for a start date in the first quarter of 2015.

How to apply
============
Closing date: 5th February
Ref: IMPACS.14.22

For information and application forms please go to
www.aber.ac.uk/en/hr/jobs/vacancies-external/
Completed Application Forms should be signed and returned to the Human
Resources Recruitment Team by e-mail, or post. Email address:
vacancies@aber.ac.uk / Tel: 01970 628555

Interview Date: Week commencing 16 February 2015
For informal enquiries contact Patricia Shaw: phs@aber.ac.uk +44
(0)1970-622432