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Research positions in visual and auditory modelling and psychophysics

Plymouth Institute of Neuroscience

Applications are invited for the following positions: 2 postdoctoral research fellowships and 2 research studentships in visual and auditory modelling and psychophysics.


The open positions are part of a project,  "Attend-to-learn and learn-to-attend with neuromorphic VLSI", funded by the European Community (IST-2001-38099), which combines perceptual, computational, and hardware research.  In addition to the University of Plymouth, UK, the project also involves, ETH Zurich and University of Bern, Switzerland, the National Institute of Health, Rome, Italy, Siemens AG, Germany, and the UC Davis, USA.  Research at the Plymouth Institute of Neuroscience received a rating of 5 in the 2001 RAE exercise.


The aim of the project is to develop a general architecture for memory-guided attention using both software modelling and neuromorphic VLSI technology. The architecture will be tested on natural visual and auditory stimuli and its performance compared to human observers/listeners.  Plymouth will be responsible for developing visual and auditory stimuli that are restricted enough to be tractable by an artificial system, yet rich enough for psychophysical tests of attention and learning in human observers/listeners.


Specific tasks will include:

  • designing feature spaces that efficiently encode of natural images and sounds
  • conducting psychophysical experiments to characterise attention and learning with novel classes of synthetic images and sounds
  • developing computational models for visual and auditory feature saliency and feature tracking
  • providing performance benchmarks that are suitable for testing the models and hardware components developed by project partners
  • disseminating the results at international conferences.

Applicants for the postdoctoral research fellowships should have, or expect to obtain, a Ph.D. in Psychophysics, Computational Modelling, or a related field.  Experience in information theoretic analysis is also desirable.

Applicants for research studentships should have, or expect to obtain, a good honours degree in Psychology, Neuroscience, Physics, Computing, or related fields.  The ideal candidate will possess good analytical, experimental and computational skills.

All posts are available from 1 September 2002 for 3 years.  Salaries will be internationally competitive and reflect the successful candidate's qualifications.

 For further information, please contact Prof. Jochen Braun (visual psychophysics and modelling, +44 1752 232 711, achim@pion.ac.uk) or Dr. Sue Denham (auditory psychophysics and modelling, +44 1752 232610, sue@pion.ac.uk).