dimanche 23 septembre 2012

3 RA positions in honeybee computational neuroscience and robotics

Three postdoctoral positions are available at the Universities of Sheffield (two posts) and Sussex (one post) as part of the EPSRC funded, ‘Green Brain’ project. This exciting new project will develop computational neuroscience models of learning and decision-making in the honeybee brain, and controllers based on these to run on an NVIDIA GPU supercomputer controlling a flying robot in real time. Invertebrate neuroscientists are continuing to demonstrate that despite their small sized brains, insects, such as honeybees, have comparable cognitive sophistication to those of larger-brained animals, including vertebrates. Honeybees, in particular, have been demonstrated to be able to manage speed-accuracy trade-offs in decision-making, exhibit positive and negative-reinforcement learning, and transfer concepts such as 'sameness' and 'difference' across sensory modalities. This project is intended to advance our understanding of the invertebrate brain by computational neuroscience modelling, with the ultimate long-term goal of achieving a complete brain model of an animal such as the honeybee. To achieve this goal, modern GPU super-computing will be used to build
detailed models of brain function that can run in real time and can interface with a flying robot to study its behaviour in an embodied context. The work will be carried out in close collaboration with honeybee experts in Toulouse. It is expected that the long-term goal of a full brain model will not only represent a significant basic research achievement, but also lead to breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, control of autonomous agents and computational insights into cognitive mechanisms in higher animals

The postdoctoral positions of the research associates on this project are as follows:

1. Computational neuroscientist (Sussex): Your primary responsibilities will be to further develop models of the honeybee olfactory system and learning pathways, develop GPU modelling tools, and integrate your work with the other research associates.

2. Computational neuroscientist (Sheffield): Your primary responsibilities will be to model the honeybee optic tubercle and visual learning pathways, to investigate multi-modal integration and learning, and to integrate your work with the other research associates

3. Roboticist (Sheffield): Your primary responsibility will be to develop and maintain the GPU-supercomputer-controlled flying robot, and integrate the work of the other research associates into the platform

Successful candidates must hold a PhD or equivalent degree in a quantitative science discipline. All posts require a keen interest in computational neuroscience and the basis of learning and behaviour in animals. We are looking for candidates with a strong mathematical, computational and computational neuroscience background (posts 1 and 2) and keen interest in robotics (post 3). Knowledge of the insect olfactory system (post 1), visual system (post 2) and robotic controllers (post 3) is desirable, but is not a requirement. All positions require good programming skills and experience with GPU computing would be a big plus. The positions will involve travel between Sheffield and Sussex and occasionally to the collaborating experimental bee researchers in Toulouse.

For informal inquiries about the positions, please contact Dr. James Marshall, James.Marshall@shef.ac.uk or Dr. Thomas Nowotny, t.nowotny@sussex.ac.uk.

Candidates interested in applying for the University of Sussex job please apply through www.sussex.ac.uk/jobs. Candidates interested in the posts at University of Sheffield please apply through http://www.shef.ac.uk/jobs. If candidates are interested in several posts please apply on both sites. Sheffield Refs: UOS005250, UOS005253 Sussex Ref: 816.

Please provide a CV with publication list, a brief (1 page) statement of why you are interested in the position and about your future career plans with your application form.

Salary range: starting at £28,401 and rising to £37,012 per annum, according to post and experience

Expected start date: 1 December 2012

Closing date for applications: 14/17 October 2012

Interviews are anticipated for: 1 November 2012

For full details and how to apply see

The Universities of Sheffield and of Sussex are committed to equality of opportunity.