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ISCApad Archive  »  2014  »  ISCApad #187  »  Jobs  »  (2013-10-10) PhD-position at CITEC, Bielefeld University, Germany

ISCApad #187

Saturday, January 11, 2014 by Chris Wellekens

6-15 (2013-10-10) PhD-position at CITEC, Bielefeld University, Germany
PhD-position at CITEC, Bielefeld University, Germany ====================================================
TOPIC: Embodied cognitive modeling of language processing and dialogue ----------------------------------------------------------------------
We are seeking highly qualified candidates who want to participate as a PhD student researcher in a larger scale project at Bielefeld University's Center of Excellence on Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) [1,2]. The project aims to investigate how a robot can familiarize itself with novel objects and actions through exploratory manual interaction in its environment under guidance of a human tutor. The goal is to develop deep representations of objects and actions, using language to engage in dialogue with the tutor to guide the ongoing interaction and familiarization process. Language processing and dialogue shall thereby be grounded in embodied cognitive processes.
In particular, we are searching for a PhD student working on the language aspects of this project. The task is to build a cognitively motivated representation system which interconnects different levels of abstraction and is grounded in the (already present) lower-level sensorimotor capabilities of the robot. The researcher will have to develop an intermediate type of conceptual representation which should be based on or is connected to schema theories and should in particular focus on dynamic representation of action. The targeted outcome is an implemented formalism for action semantics that links up lower-levels of sensorimotor processing with linguistic processing of syntax and semantics, as e.g. provided by construction grammar based approaches. A second goal is to build dialogue strategies on top of this formalism, e.g. to enable clarification questions geared to reduce uncertainty in this mental simulation.
The successful candidate has a background in Cognitive Science/A.I. and Linguistics, and is in particular familiar with, or motivated to learn about a deep understanding of cognition within holistic approaches to complex embodied cognitive systems. Knowledge on cognitive linguistic formalism and schema theory will be helpful.
Overview --------
The successful candidate is expected to have a strong background in at least two of the following areas:
* Cognitive Science * Computational Linguistics * Mental Representation * Cognitive Robotics
Candidates with expertise in several topics will be given preference. Applicants are expected to have strong programming skills, the ability to work independently, strong interpersonal skills as well as strong English language skills. Candidates should be qualified for and willing to perform state-of-the-art research. Knowledge of German is not required.
The project will provide the chance to perform cutting-edge research in an international context. The PhD applicant will be primarily associated with two research groups participating in this project: The Sociable Agents Group [3] (Prof. Dr. Stefan Kopp) developing cognitive systems capable of multimodal communication and social interaction, and the Emergentist Semantics Group [4] (PD Dr. Katharina Rohlfing) investigating the emergence of meaning in children and learning systems. Within these groups, the applicant will receive supervision and support in developing the necessary skills to produce high-quality research necessary to earn a PhD Degree.
The salary for the position is around 3.300 Euro per month (pre taxes), according to scale TV-L E 13 in the German University System and can vary depending on age, marital status, tax class, etc. [5]. The salary increases with the duration of the employment.
The position is available for two years and can be prolonged for one more year. Candidates are expected to start on January 1st, 2014. Applications from suitably qualified handicapped and severely handicapped persons are expressly encouraged.
Bielefeld University has received a number of awards for its achievements in the provision of equal opportunity and has been recognised as a family friendly university. The University welcomes applications from women. This is particularly true with regard both to academic and technical posts as well as positions in Information Technology and trades and crafts. Applications are handled according to the provisions of the state equal opportunity statutes.
Applications are invited until 31.10.2013 and will be processed as they are received. Interviews will be scheduled via Skype in the first half of November.
Applicants will be informed of the outcome of the selection in the second half of November.
Applications should be sent by email to
Prof. Stefan Kopp Sociable Agents Group, Faculty of Technology Email:
preferably as *one* PDF document including a CV, motivation letter, publication record (if applicable), record of teaching activities (if applicable) and any other relevant information in addition to the names of two referees.
Or by mail to the following address:
Bielefeld University, CITEC Inspiration 1 33619 Bielefeld Germany
The application should highlight the expertise in the areas mentioned above and express the research interests of the applicant.
Location --------
Bielefeld is one of the 20 largest cities in Germany (with close to 330.000 inhabitants) [6]. It is a lively city with a lot of cultural and entertainment opportunities. It is located in the heart of the Teutoburg Forest [7], offering many opportunities for outdoor and leisure activities.
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]ür_den_öffentlichen_Dienst_der_Länder [6] [7]

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