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,

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

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