PhD studentship: Humans and robots

This PhD studentship sounds like fun. If I had better programming skills and if I were masochistic enough to do another PhD, I'd definitely apply. After all, it's only a few short steps from here to the robot war. We should prepare.

Symbiotic cooperation between humans and robotic swarms

Start date and duration: December 2010, 4 years

Location: "Dalle Molle" Institute for Artificial Intelligence (IDSIA), Lugano, Switzerland (

The objective of the research is the development of novel methods for self-organized control and coordination of heterogeneous teams of humans and robot swarms interacting in symbiotic peer-to-peer modality. The applicant will devise novel ways to include humans' unique sensory-motor and cognitive skills in the loop of robotic swarms. The applicant will investigate different means and combinations of multi-modal communications based on visual cues, human gestures, vocal commands, stigmergic signalling, and radio messages. Particular attention will be also devoted to the modelling of human and swarm emotions and to the study of how to use them to effectively affect motivations, goals, action selection, and learning.

The investigated topics will be a follow-up of IDSIA's previous research in the domain of swarm robotics (, The research will be carried out in the context of a Swiss research framework.

Candidate Profile:

We are looking for an excellent and highly motivated candidate with a strong interest and a scientific background in: robotics, cognitive sciences, machine learning, and swarm intelligence. The candidate must have a MASTER degree (or equivalent). She/he is expected to have good programming and mathematical skills, and to have a positive attitude toward interdisciplinary research and teamwork.

Time frame, Enrollment, and Salary information:

- Expected duration of the studentship: 4 years, starting from October 2010
- The candidate will be affiliated to the Faculty of Informatics at ( and will be supervised by Prof. Luca Maria Gambardella (IDSIA,
- English is the official language both at the Faculty of Informatics of US and at IDSIA.
- The gross salary is roughly 40,000 CHF (29,000 EURO) per year (corresponding to a net salary of about 2,700 CHF/month). There is travel funding in case of papers accepted at conferences and for project meetings.

Research environment:

IDSIA is a research institute affiliated to the University of Lugano and the University of Applied Sciences of Southern Switzerland. IDSIA is a truly international, stimulating, and dynamic environment. It currently hosts about 50 people, including senior researchers, postdoctoral fellows, and Ph.D. students.

The research activities carried out at IDSIA address a number of different domains, including: swarm robotics, machine learning, combinatorial optimization, networking, bio-inspired computing, data mining, information theory, complex systems, and simulation.

How to Apply:

Applications should be submitted electronically to Dr. Gianni A. Di Caro at the following address: gianni AT idsia DOT ch

Must include:

Detailed curriculum vitae (including grades)
List of two references (including email addresses)
Statement about the research interests of the candidate, pointing out their relationship with the topics of the project (1 page)
Links to master thesis and publications
The position is open until filled. Candidates are strongly encouraged to send their applications before September 30, 2010.

// Jacob Lee, via ANTHRO-L


Jacob Lee said...

I had similar thoughts when I posted this to anthro-l.

Fran Barone said...

It definitely sounds like fun.

I just clicked through to your blog and I've added you to my anthro collection (

Jacob Lee said...

Thank you Fran! I've returned the favor.

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