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Open Position

Open position's detailed data


Type: Internship
Name (ID): Spiking Networks for Prosody Synthesis (OP-20171009-134525)
Supervised by: Philip GARNER


The Idiap Research Institute invites applications for an internship in Spiking Networks for Prosody Synthesis.

Description of work

Many audio events, such as those that happen in the vocal tract when speaking, can be characterised as having a start time and duration. The duration can be several samples or frames. However, this is at odds with current audio synthesis methods, which tend to use fixed-duration frame-based models. It follows that more natural audio synthesis may arise from more natural models.

At Idiap, we have developed a model of intonation in terms of fixed duration muscle responses. The model can explain an intonation contour well, but generation of new contours remains a research issue. The successful candidate will investigate how to generate such contours by means of spiking neural networks. Spiking networks are biologically plausible models that fit well with muscle response models.

The work is likely to involve a study of training methods for spiking networks from the literature. General familiarisation experiments should evolve into application focused ones when candidate methods are identified. Implementation may be custom, or may be based on software such as NEURON or BRIAN.


The internship would suit a masters graduate considering future PhD work, or a PhD candidate looking to diversify. Candidates should have a strong background in engineering, mathematics or a related discipline, should be computer-literate, and familiar with modern distributed programming environments and languages such as C++ and Python. Familiarity with deep learning tool-kits such as Torch or the ones above will be a distinct advantage.


The internship is offered for a period of six months beginning as soon as possible in 2018. Interns receive a stipend of CHF 2000 per month to cover accommodation and living costs.

About Idiap:

Idiap is an independent, not-for-profit, research institute recognized and funded by the Swiss Federal Government, the State of Valais, and the City of Martigny.

Idiap offers competitive salaries and conditions at all levels in a young, high-quality, dynamic, and multicultural environment. Idiap is an equal opportunity employer and is actively involved in the "Advancement of Women in Science" European initiative. The Institute seeks to maintain a principle of open competition (on the basis of merit) to appoint the best candidate, provides equal opportunity for all candidates, and equally encourage both genders to apply.

Idiap is located in the town of Martigny in Valais, a scenic region in the south of Switzerland, surrounded by the highest mountains of Europe, and offering exceptional quality of life, exciting recreational activities, including hiking, climbing and skiing, as well as varied cultural activities. It is within close proximity to Lausanne and Geneva. Although Idiap is located in the French part of Switzerland, English is the official working language. Free French lessons are also provided on a complimentary basis.

For frequently asked questions (FAQs) about living in Switzerland, please go to

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