Postdoc Position Awareness and Tool Invention in Ancient Humans and Future Robots

Postdoc Position Awareness and Tool Invention in Ancient Humans and Future Robots

Published Deadline Location
21 Nov 8 Jan Delft
How did our ancestors come up with the first tools? Can we analyze this (self) awareness and teach robots how to create their own tools?

Job description

In the METATOOL project, you will be at the forefront of developing awareness-capable robots. This highly experimental and novel project combines traditional symbolic models with computational models of synthetic metacognition/awareness. In METATOOL we link awareness and tool creation: making new tools to resolve a problem requires an extended form of awareness, and there is a parallel between our first toolmaking ancestors and robots of the future. In this project, you will create the symbolic framework, an ontology, using archaeological and neuroscientific data on tool making.

Main tasks:

  • Develop the METATOOL conceptual framework from a domain ontology for tool behaviours that is the result of a previous project: see http://rocaontology.github.io/   
  • Co-supervise two PhD students
  • (Co) authoring scientific articles, and presentations.
  • Project management: e.g. monitoring time and deliverables for the TU Delft work package, attending meetings.     

Specifications

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

Requirements

Required qualifications and qualities:

  • PhD in Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Library/Information Science or an adjacent field with a significant background in ontologies, knowledge graphs or other Semantic Web and knowledge representation and reasoning methods,

   OR a strong research background in the above fields.

  • Willingness to quickly acquire specialized expertise required in the project.
  • Interest in the humanities, especially archaeology and cognitive science.
  • Proven ability to finish projects on time.
  • Excellent communication skills in English (written and spoken).
  • Willingness to travel to other partners for several weeks to work with them.

Desired qualifications and qualities:

  • Experience setting-up and running robotic experiments
  • Experience with practical robotics projects and ROS (for example by controlling a robot arm or a moving robot) or willingness to train during the PhD.

Note: 

We know that it is highly unlikely that one person can meet all these requirements. When in doubt about your suitability: apply. 

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

You will specialize in cognitive robotics, and develop your people and project management skills. You will build a diverse interdisciplinary network that includes archaeologists, neuroscientists, roboticists, AI experts, software engineers and system architects.  When you leave the project you will have created a unique tool for robotics and evolutionary sciences, possibly the foundation of your future research.

In collaboration with the project partners, you will receive (additional) ROS (Robot Operating System) training. There are opportunities to guest lecture in existing MSc courses, and propose projects and supervise students on METATOOL-related activities.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 2 years.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (salary indication: € 3.703 - € 4.670 per month gross). The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation. An International Children's Centre offers childcare and there is an international primary school.

This postdoc position has a fixed-term contract of 1 year, with the possibility to extend for 1 additional year.

Employer

Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

Department

Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

The Faculty of 3mE carries out pioneering research, leading to new fundamental insights and challenging applications in the field of mechanical engineering. From large-scale energy storage, medical instruments, control technology and robotics to smart materials, nanoscale structures and autonomous ships. The foundations and results of this research are reflected in outstanding, contemporary education, inspiring students and PhD candidates to become socially engaged and responsible engineers and scientists. The faculty of 3mE is a dynamic and innovative faculty with an international scope and high-tech lab facilities. Research and education focus on the design, manufacture, application and modification of products, materials, processes and mechanical devices, contributing to the development and growth of a sustainable society, as well as prosperity and welfare.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering. Do you want to experience working at our faculty? These videos will introduce you to some of our researchers and their work.

Additional information

The METATOOL project is funded through the European Innovation Council (EIC) with Pathfinder grant. Project partners are located across Europe: Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Radboud University, Humboldt University Berlin, University of Sussex, Delft University of Technology, PAL Robotics and Senta BV. In this project we  aim to provide a computational model of synthetic awareness to enhance adaptation and achieve tool invention. This will enable a robot to monitor and self-evaluate its performance, ground and reuse this information for adapting to new circumstances, and finally unlock the possibility of creating new tools. Under the predictive account of awareness, and based on both neuroscientific and archaeological evidence, we will: 1) develop a novel computational model of metacognition based on predictive processing (metaprediction) and 2) validate its utility in real robots in two use case scenarios: conditional sequential tasks and tool creation. 

The TU Delft team comprises of two project investigators (Dr Carlos Hernandez Corbato and Dr Geeske Langejans, two PhD candidates (one on robotics and one on archaeology) and one postdoc. You will be based in Delft at the Department of Cognitive Robotics, in close collaboration with the Department for Material Science Engineering . Your daily supervisor is Dr Carlos Hernandez Corbato.

For more information about this position, please contact Dr Carlos Hernandez, phone +31 15 27 81053, e-mail C.H.Corbato@tudelft.nl.       

Specifications

  • Postdoc
  • Engineering
  • 32—40 hours per week
  • Doctorate
  • TUD03117

Employer

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Location

Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply by January 8th, 2023 via the application button and upload:

1) a letter of motivation explaining why you are the right candidate for this project;

2) a (max) one page research statement highlighting your matching research skills for this position and overview of how you would tackle building this ontology;

3) an updated CV that includes a list of your publications;

5) a copy of your most relevant scientific publication (or a link to download it);

6) the abstract (or a summary) of the thesis of your highest degree in English;

7) a link to your PhD thesis, if available;

8) details and email addresses of three referees;

The review of applications will be continuous as applications are received, when interested do not hesitate to apply before the deadline.

A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.

You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.

The first interviews will take place in January 2023.

Start date: as soon as possible from 1 February 2023.     

Application procedure

Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply by January 8th, 2023 via the application button and upload:

1) a letter of motivation explaining why you are the right candidate for this project;

2) a (max) one page research statement highlighting your matching research skills for this position and overview of how you would tackle building this ontology;

3) an updated CV that includes a list of your publications;

5) a copy of your most relevant scientific publication (or a link to download it);

6) the abstract (or a summary) of the thesis of your highest degree in English;

7) a link to your PhD thesis, if available;

8) details and email addresses of three referees;

The review of applications will be continuous as applications are received, when interested do not hesitate to apply before the deadline.

A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.

You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.

The first interviews will take place in January 2023.

Start date: as soon as possible from 1 February 2023.     

Make sure to apply no later than 8 Jan 2023 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).