[robotics-worldwide] [jobs] Doctoral Studentship in Machine Learning at the University of Oxford

Shimon Whiteson shimon.whiteson at gmail.com
Wed Jun 17 02:48:50 PDT 2015

Doctoral Studentship

Department of Computer Science

University of Oxford Supervisor: Professor Shimon Whiteson

Start Date: October 2015 (later start maybe possible)

The Machine Learning Group at Oxford University's Department of Computer Science is offering a fully funded D.Phil studentship which will pay fees at home/eu rate for three years and provide a stipend of at least £14057 for three years.

The aim of this project is to develop a new class of reinforcement learning and sample-based decision-theoretic planning methods that overcome fundamental obstacles to the efficient optimisation of control policies for autonomous agents. Creating agents that are effective in diverse settings is a key goal of artificial intelligence with large potential implications in robotics, e-commerce, information retrieval, traffic control, etc.

In particular, the project will develop a new approach that simultaneously optimises both policies and the distributions over stochastic events that are sampled from when evaluating those policies, with the aim of greatly reducing the currently prohibitive computational cost of evaluating policies.

The focus of the project is on policy-search methods for reinforcement learning as well as closely related methods for sample-based decision-theoretic planning. Techniques such as stochastic optimisation, Bayesian optimisation, and Bayesian quadrature are expected to play a key role. The project will involve both theoretical work as well as an extensive empirical analysis on challenging tasks from robotics and information retrieval.

We will consider applicants with a strong background in computer science or a closely related area. Excellent mathematical and programming skills are essential. Strong communication and organisational skills are also important. A background in machine learning and/or decision-theoretic planning is a plus.

Applicants must in addition satisfy the usual requirements for studying for a doctorate at Oxford, see selection criteria here:


Please apply online here:


by 17th July quoting CS-SW-2015 as the studentship code.

If you have any questions about the studentship or the application process please email:

Julie.sheppard at cs.ox.ac.uk

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