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AISB opportunities Bulletin Item

Two Fully-Funded PhD Positions in Intelligent Mobile Robotics, Birmingham, UK

We are looking for two PhD students to work on topics connected with the new FP7-funded project 
STRANDS Spatio-Temporal Representations and Activities for Cognitive Control in Long-Term 
Scenarios. STRANDS will develop new technologies to allow mobile robots to acquire and use 
semantic maps of indoor spaces that capture not just spatial information (walls, doors etc.), 
but also the spatio-temporal structure of the dynamics which change such spaces (e.g. human 
activities with objects). To do this, these robots must be able learn and operate reliably in 
long-term deployments (from weeks to months of autonomous activity). Our robots will be tested 
over long-term operation in real-world care and building security applications.

STRANDS is coordinated by the Intelligent Robotics Lab ( in 
the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham, UK. As a member of the STRANDS 
team you will be working with five other leading EU research groups and two industrial partners. 
You will work as part of a team of six researchers on STRANDS at Birmingham, and around 30 
researchers in STRANDS as a whole. The work will be performed in the world-class research 
environment provided by the IRLab, alongside exceptional researchers on national and EU projects, 
including two further new EU projects starting in early 2013.

The challenging tasks to be undertaken at Birmingham in STRANDS include learning qualitative 
spatial representations of indoor environments; planning the sequence of observations a mobile 
robot should make to learn and recognise activities (i.e. active spatio-temporal mapping); and 
the integration of motivation, learning and temporal behaviour planning capabilities into a rich 
architecture for long-term robot perception and action.  PhD candidates are expected to play a 
lead role creating original solutions to one of these problems, with exact PhD topics being 
determined early in the project. Possible topics include the following:

* Planning to enable a robot to gather information about activities:

* Algorithms enabling a robot to learn models of complex human behaviour:

* Artificial intelligence techniques for a long-running mobile robot:

The project will start on April 1st 2013, and although we prefer candidates who can 
start then, we are willing to wait if you need to finish your current studies.

In the first instance contact Dr Nick Hawes ( and Dr Jeremy 
Wyatt ( with your CV and transcript. Put "STRANDS PhD Application" 
in the subject line. If appropriate we will contact applicants to discuss things further.


Dr. Nick Hawes

Lecturer, School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham || +44 121 414 3739 || skype: nickhawes