[robotics-worldwide] [jobs] PhD Scholarship available - Real-time Action Recognition for Human-Robot Interaction - deadline October 31 2014

Fabio Cuzzolin fabio.cuzzolin at brookes.ac.uk
Mon Oct 27 06:53:01 PDT 2014

The Faculty of Technology, Design and the Environment at Oxford Brookes
University is pleased to offer a three year full-time PhD Scholarship to a
new student commencing in January 2015. The successful applicant will
receive an annual bursary of £10,000 for three years (with no inflation
increase) and the fees will be paid by the University.

The successful candidate will work within the Department of Computing and
Communication Technologies - as part of both the Artificial Intelligence
and Vision group and the Cognitive Robotics group, under the supervision of
Dr Fabio Cuzzolin and Dr Nigel Crook.

Topic of research: Real-time Action Recognition for Human-Robot Interaction

Action recognition is a fast-growing area of research in computer vision.
The problem consists in, given a video captured by one or more cameras,
detecting and recognising the category of the action performed by the
person(s) who appear in the video. The problem is very challenging, for a
number of reasons: labelling videos is an ambiguous task, as the same
sequence can be assigned different verbal descriptions by different human
observers; different motions can carry the same meaning (inherent
variability); nuisance factors such as viewpoint, illumination variations,
occlusion (as parts of the moving person can be hidden behind objects or
other people) further complicate recognition. In addition, traditional
action recognition benchmarks are based on a 'batch' philosophy: it is
assumed that a single action is present within each video, and videos are
processed as a whole, typically via algorithms which require entire days to
be completed. While this can be suitable for tasks such as video browsing
and retrieval over the internet (although speed is critical there), it is
completely unacceptable for a number of real world applications which
require a prompt, real-time interpretation of what action is taking place.

Examples are: human-robot and human-machine interaction (using gestures to
send commands to a computer or a robot), surveillance (detecting
potentially dangerous actions or events in live feeds), car driver's
monitoring (monitoring the level of attention, or responding to gestural
commands), gaming (interpreting the body language of a video game player),
intelligent vehicles (understanding the behaviour of pedestrians and other
vehicles in the vicinity of a car).

Consequently, a new paradigm of 'online', 'real-time' action recognition is
rapidly emerging, and is likely to shape the field in coming years. The AI
and Vision group is already building on its multi-year experience in batch
action recognition to expand towards online recognition, based on two
distinct approaches: one based on the application of novel 'deep learning'
neural networks to automatically segmented video regions, the other resting
on continually updating an approximation of the space of 'feature'
measurements extracted from images, via a set of balls of radius which
depends on how difficult classification is within that region of the space.

For further information about the Artificial Intelligence and Vision group,


and Dr Fabio Cuzzolin's web page:


For information on the Cognitive Robotics group, consult


The selection criteria will focus on academic excellence, suitability of
research experience and skills, subject knowledge and references.

If you would like to apply you should request an application pack from Ms
Zane Kalnina, tdestudentships at brookes.ac.uk, quoting 'Action Recognition
PhD Scholarship' in the subject line.

Fully completed applications must be sent to tdestudentships at brookes.ac.uk
- by Friday 31th October 2014.

As part of the application you must submit a maximum 3 page outline
research proposal (instructions on how to prepare a research proposal can
be found on the Brookes website:
http://cct.brookes.ac.uk/research/proposals.html , together with a
supporting statement of no more than 300 words summarising:

Your reasons for undertaking this project;
Preparation undertaken and previous research experience;
How this bursary will make a difference to your research.

Please be advised that the selection process may involve an interview for a
selected list of candidates, and the successful candidate would be expected
to commence in the research degree programme in January 2015.

Dr Fabio Cuzzolin
Head of Artificial Intelligence Group
Department of Computing and Communication Technologies
Oxford Brookes University
Oxford, UK

+44 (0)1865 484526

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