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AISB opportunities Bulletin Item

Postdoctoral position in 'Logics for higher-order social cognition', Groningen


Post-doc position: Logics for higher-order social cognition

Postdoc position Logics for higher-order social cognition (1,0 fte)

   Location	Groningen
   Education	University Graduate
   Hours	38.0 hours per week
   Salary	maximum EUR 2612
   End procedure	1 September 2010
   Job number	210249

Job description

The postdoc position is available in the Multi-agent Systems Group in theInstitute of Artificial Intelligence (ALICE) at the University ofGroningen. The candidate will join the five-year Vici project of Prof.Rineke Verbrugge, comprising six researchers.

The Vici project 'Cognitive systems in interaction: Logical andcomputational models of higher-order social cognition'.

Software agents are capable of recursion in their social reasoning: Athinks about what B knows, about what B thinks that A knows, and so on.However, humans lose track of such reasoning after only two or threelevels. If software agents work together with human team-mates, they needto take into account the limits of their social cognition. In the Viciproject, we investigate children's development and adults' limitations inapplying higher-order reasoning, using a close-knit combination ofempirical research and formal modelling. Whereas first-order socialcognition has been intensely investigated, higher-order social cognitionis far less well-understood. This Vici project aims to apply improvedunderstanding of higher-order social reasoning to design realistic logics,ready for implementation in systems supporting mixed human-computer teams.

The postdoc project: How logical can higher-order social cognition be?

The usual dynamic epistemic logics are built on the idealized assumptionthat participants in intelligent interaction are logically omniscient, inparticular, they can correctly reason about higher-order mental states ofothers. Recently, however, there has been a call for more realisticresource-bounded logics. The postdoc designs resource-bounded logics forreasoning about other agents. Results from the experimental studies andcognitive models (by other participants in the Vici project) aboutprocessing bottlenecks in complex higher-order attributions are used totailor the logics to human cognitive capabilities. One combined system maymodel several types of reasoners with different resource bounds, tuned byparameters such as inferential capabilities, reflective capabilities, andrevision policies. Then, the postdoc extends these parametrizedresource-bounded logics with a realistic component representing teamreasoning, incorporating dynamic aspects such as effects of communication.Finally, the postdoc operationalizes the logics and investigates theircomputational properties, such as complexity of model checking.Requirements We seek an energetic postdoc candidate to carry out thisfundamental research project at the forefront of the interdisciplinarycombination of cognitive science, logic, and artificial intelligence. Thecandidate has a PhD degree in logic, artificial intelligence, cognitivescience, mathematics or computer science, with a strong interest andproven skills in logic. Good analytical skills and a positive attitudetowards interdisciplinary work are required. Objective of the 3 yearsposition is the production of a number of research articles inpeer-reviewed scientific journals. Teaching duties of 10% of the time areforeseen, for example, supervision of master's theses. In exceptionalcases, the position may be filled as a PhD position by a Master of Logic,for a period up to 4 years. Conditions of employment The University ofGroningen offers a salary dependent on qualifications and work experienceof € 2,379 gross per month up to a maximum of € 3,755 (scale 10) gross permonth for a full-time job. This position is defined according to the UFOfunction profile 'researcher'. The Institute of Artificial Intelligenceand Cognitive Engineering (ALICE) at the University of Groningen providesa stimulating research environment, with good facilities and high qualitytraining and teaching.

Start date: Autumn 2010.


We would like to receive letters in English language, including a personalmotivation, a curriculum vitae, and the names and addresses of threereferees (including telephone number and e-mail address).

Please, also send an electronic copy of your application to:L.C.Verbrugge@rug.nl