[robotics-worldwide] PhD Position in artificial intelligence and robotics

Alessandro Saffiotti asaffio at aass.oru.se
Wed Dec 19 22:35:38 PST 2012

 ***** One PhD Position on Planning Human-Aware Robot Behavior *****

         Center for Applied Autonomous Sensor Systems (AASS)
                     Örebro University, Sweden

In Short

Applications are invited for a three year PhD student position in
Computer Science at Örebro University, Sweden.  The research area is
artificial intelligence and robotics, with special emphasis on
planning human-aware robot behavior.  The work will be performed in
the context of the EU project MOnarCH.  Application deadline: January
15, 2013.

About the Positions

The main task of the student will be to perform world-class research
at the intersection of artificial intelligence and robotics,
specifically on the topic of planning human-aware robot behavior.  The
student will create, implement and test new techniques to allow a
robot, or team of robots, to generate plans to perform given tasks
that involve the interaction with humans.  What is new compared to
traditional planning is that these plans must ensure that the robot's
behavior complies with a set of social norms and social roles, which
may depend on the interaction context.

The research will be motivated by, guided by, and validated in a
specific application scenario: robots that interact with children in a
hospital, in order to entertain them or to participate in educational
activities.  Depending on the context, robots may play different roles
and they may engage in different social relations with the children,
following different social norms.  For instance, robots may be
watchful guardians in some situations, or companion players in others.
The human-aware planning techniques developed in this research project
will take the social context, norms and roles into account, and
regulate the robots' behavior accordingly.

The successful candidate will be employed as PhD student with Örebro
University for an expected duration of three years.  He or she will
work within the local MOnarCH team at Örebro University, but will also
collaborate with the other European partners in the MOnarCH project,
both remotely and through physical meetings and research visits.  A
limited amount of teaching may also be part of the PhD student's

More information can be found at http://aass.oru.se/CRS/positions.html

About the MOnarCH Project

MOnarCH (Multi-Robot Cognitive Systems Operating in Hospitals) is a
European Union FP7 project.  The overall aims of MOnarCH are (i) the
development of a novel framework to model mixed human-robot societies,
and (ii) its demonstration using a network of heterogeneous robots and
sensors, in the pediatric area of an oncological hospital.  It will
handle uncertainties introduced by people and robots, generate natural
interactions, and engage in edutainment activities.  The framework
developed in MOnarCH will map concepts in social sciences into social
skills, group behaviors, and human-robot interaction, using learning
methodologies and decision-theoretic principles.

The expected outcomes of MOnarCH are (i) an operational system able to
interact with people in a natural way, (ii) novel results on key
properties of networked robot systems, and (iii) guidelines to
translate the system to applications in hospital environments, and
further scenarios sharing similarities with them, e.g., kindergarten,
and personal assistance to elderly at home.

The MOnarCH consortium is formed by nine top-level European
institutions and companies: the Instituto Superior Técnico (Portugal),
Örebro University (Sweden), Universidad Carlos III (Spain), Instituto
Português de Oncologia de Lisboa (Portugal), YDreams Robotics
(Portugal), SelfTech (Portugal), IDMind (Portugal), École
Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland), and University of
Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

About the Working Place

Örebro University (www.oru.se) is a young university which currently
enrolls more than 18,000 students.  It is located in Örebro, a city of
130,000 inhabitants situated in central Sweden.

The Center for Applied Autonomous Sensor Systems (AASS) is one of the
Strong Research Environments at Örebro University.  It carries out
multi-disciplinary research at the intersection of robotics, computer
science, machine learning and artificial intelligence.  The research
and human environment at AASS is young and enthusiastic.  AASS hosts
about 45 researchers, who come from a dozen different countries, in
Europe and worldwide, and have different scientific and cultural
backgrounds.  AASS also frequently hosts international researchers and
is involved in several international projects.

AASS is internationally renowned for its research in cognitive robotic
systems, and the MOnarCH project in particular is carried out within
the Cognitive Robotic Systems lab of AASS.  Further information about
AASS and the Cognitive Robotic Systems lab can be found at
http://aass.oru.se and http://aass.oru.se/CRS.

Prerequisites and Application Process

In addition to a clear interest in the above research topic, the
successful applicant must have a strong theoretical background in
computer science, and solid programming skills.  A Master's in
computer science or computer engineering is required.  We particularly
seek candidates with experience in artificial intelligence, planning
and constraint reasoning, and with an inclination towards
cross-disciplinary research.  Previous experience with robotic systems
is a plus.  Knowledge of the Swedish language is not required, but
proficiency in written and spoken English is mandatory.

To apply for a position, please send a motivation letter along with an
updated CV (including at least two academic references) by email to
Prof. Alessandro Saffiotti <alessandro.saffiotti at aass.oru.se>.
Applications can be sent immediately and until January 15, 2013.  We
look forward to receiving your application!


 Prof Alessandro Saffiotti               www.aass.oru.se/~asaffio
 Head, AASS Cognitive Robotic Systems Lab     asaffio at aass.oru.se
 School of Science and Technology              Tel: +46 19 303794
 Orebro University, Orebro, Sweden             Fax: +46 19 303463

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