PhD Positions on Speech Recognition, Handwriting Recognition and Robotics, Ghent University [Belgium]

Several Ph.D. positions on speech recognition, handwriting recognition and robotics using Reservoir Computing available, Ghent University, Belgium
Several fully funded Ph.D. positions are available in Machine Learning at the Reservoir Lab, part of the Electronics and Information Systems Department, faculty of Engineering of the Ghent University, Belgium.

The positions are made available in the context of the following integrated projects:

* “Self-organized Recurrent Neural Learning for Language Processing” (ORGANIC), funded by the European Commission within the 7th Framework Program. Details about the project can be found at the preliminary reservoir computing website.
* “Reservoir Computing for auditory pattern recognition” (RECAP), funded by the Research Programme of the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO).

The research concerns the investigation of architectures and algorithms for the efficient learning of large recurrent neural networks based on the Reservoir Computing concept (where only a linear readout layer is learned, and the recurrent connections are fixed or trained in an unsupervised way). Important research topics are the unsupervised learning of a large hierarchy of recurrent sub-layers, and the integration of various adaptation techniques. The application domains are off-line handwriting recognition, speech recognition and various aspects of robotics (such as robot localization, motion control, …).

Candidates for these Ph.D. positions should have a Masters degree in Electrical, Computer or Physics Engineering; or in Physics, Mathematics or Informatics. The ideal candidates have a background or previous experience in one or more of the following: Machine Learning, programming (Python, Matlab, …), statistics, signal processing, speech recognition, control engineering, or robotics. A good knowledge of English is essential.

Appointment, Salary and Working Environment
The appointment is for four years. As an employee of the university you will receive a competitive salary (starting with a net monthly salary of approximately 1.600€) as well as excellent secondary benefits (holiday allowance, etc.). Assistance for finding accommodation is provided. We offer an exciting job in a stimulating environment, with a nice amount of flexibility and academic liberty. Our young and vibrant research group has a thorough expertise in the research area. Belgium was ranked first on the “Best Countries for Academic Research” worldwide list (The Scientist, 2007), and Ghent University was appointed second place on the “Best Places to Work in Academia” non-US list (The Scientist, 2006). According to a study of EUROFOUND, Belgium, Finland and Austria have the highest quality of life in the European Union.

If you are interested in one of the Ph.D. vacancies, please send in electronic format: a detailed curriculum vitae, a motivation letter, a publication list and selected publications (if applicable), your course program and corresponding grades, and two letters of recommendation to Benjamin Schrauwen (Benjamin.Schrauwen[ at ] Some positions start in April 2009, others in October 2009. Applications which are received before February 1, 2009 get priority.

Closing date: February 1, 2009