PhD Candidate at the Donders Center for Cognition: 'How to Grow an Internal Model: A Toolbox for the Computational Modeller'
An influential theoretical position in cognitive neuroscience is that the brain is a 'prediction machine' that uses internal generative models to guide …
- Houtlaan, Nijmegen, Gelderland
- Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
- Uren per week:
- 32 - 40 uur
- € 2972 - € 2972 per maand
An influential theoretical position in cognitive neuroscience is that the brain is a 'prediction machine' that uses internal generative models to guide perception and action. Integrating new information with existing internal models is a crucial 'operation' underlying not only learning and education, but also development, behaviour change, creativity, incident recovery, and drug rehabilitation. When cast into Bayesian terms (e.g. predictive coding) this integration translates into (non-parametric) changes to the structure of existing models, such as the introduction of new variables, the conditioning of an existing variable on a new contextual dependence, or the re-allocation of probability mass over variables. There is currently no formal framework that systematically addresses these operations, which seriously constrains scientists that aim to use Bayesian computational models to describe cognitive phenomena (and interpret data) that require structure changes in internal models. In this project we will develop such a formal framework to remedy this omission.
To this end, you will collaborate with a broad and interdisciplinary research team, consisting of computer scientists, cognitive scientists, neuroscientists and philosophers, to approach the research problem both ‘bottom-up’ (using data-driven non-parametric Bayesian methods) and ‘top-down’ (using conceptually driven insights in abductive reasoning). Your research methodology will be a combination of computational formal modelling, conceptual analysis, mathematical formal modelling, and computer simulation. You will attend conferences, workshops, and/or summer schools, publish scientific papers, contribute in general to the research in both groups you are embedded in, and contribute to our AI Bachelor's and Master's programmes.
- A Master's thesis in Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Mathematics, or a related field.
- Mature mathematical skills as well as experience with conceptual analysis and computational modelling.
- A curiosity-driven attitude towards fundamental research questions.
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills and an ability to work in interdisciplinary teams.
- Experience with non-parametric Bayesian modelling and/or an affinity for Philosophy of Cognition would be appreciated.
- Employment: 32 - 40 hours per week.
- The gross starting salary amounts to €2,325 per month, and will increase to €2,972 in the fourth year (salary scale P).
- In addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
- Duration of the contract: you will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years.
- The intended start date is 1 September 2020.
- You will be able to make use of our Dual Career Service: our Dual Career Officer will assist with family-related support, such as child care, and help your partner prepare for the local labour market and with finding an occupation.
- You will be part of the Donders Graduate School for Cognitive Neuroscience.
- Are you interested in our excellent employment conditions?
Additional informationFor more information about this vacancy, please contact:
Johan Kwisthout, daily supervisor, co-promotor
Tel.: +31 (0)24 365 59 77
Iris van Rooij, second supervisor, co-promotor
Tel.: +31 (0)24 361 26 45
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