EPSRC PhD Studentship in Swarm Robotics


The Project

This PhD programme will be grounded in the field of swarm intelligence. The student will research and test hypotheses concerning the design of multi-layer hybrid robot control architectures for swarm robotic systems.  These control architectures will introduce elements of learning, planning and deliberation which go well beyond the minimalist controllers currently found in swarm robotic systems, yet at the swarm level we will retain the key characteristics of emergence and self-organisation.  This PhD will therefore research the potential for novel emergent interactions between robots with (simple) cognition.


This project will be undertaken within the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (www.brl.ac.uk), and is part of the wider EPSRC programme The Emergence of Artificial Culture in Robot Societies, in which the overall aim is to investigate the emergence of culture as a novel property of social animals by building an artificial society of robots: the Artificial Culture laboratory.  The project is a collaboration between the Bristol Robotics Lab at UWE, Bristol and the universities of Abertay Dundee, Exeter, Leeds Met, Manchester and Warwick, which in turn forms part of a cluster of EPSRC projects with the theme of emergence.


This student's work will contribute directly to the development of the Artificial Culture lab, and he/she will work particularly closely with the research assistant based at the University of Manchester tasked with developing software tools for the laboratory.  As a team member of the overall project the student will interact frequently with the other three PhD students in the project.  In this student's project, for example, the design of low-level robot control parameters will be directly influenced by other students' projects in respect of, for example, artificial ecosystem specification or teleological aspects of robot design.  In turn, this student's results from early-stage experiments in the artificial culture lab will inform the development of other students' projects. All students will benefit from the strong trans-disciplinary crossover between the parallel PhD programmes, and from interaction with the other projects in the emergence cluster.


The three-year studentship covers tuition fees and provides a maintenance stipend of £12,300 per year.


We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a good honours degree (minimum 2.i) or Masters in Electronic Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics or a related discipline, have good analytical and programming skills and a strong interest in distributed robotics, swarm intelligence and artificial intelligence. Previous experience of programming mobile robots in C/C++ would be an advantage. The candidate must also have a positive attitude toward interdisciplinary research and teamwork.  A recognised English language qualification (minimum IELTS 6.5, TOEFL 600) is required if English is not the candidate’s first language. For informal enquiries please contact Professor Alan Winfield, preferably by email: alan.winfield@uwe.ac.uk.


How to apply
For application forms, please contact the Graduate School Office, Faculty of Computing Engineering and Mathematical Sciences via email cemsgraduateschool@uwe.ac.uk or telephone (+44) 0117 32 83580.


Closing Date for applications
Please submit applications by 30th April 2007.