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Open Position

Open position's detailed data


Type: PhD Student
Name (ID): Spiking neural architectures for speech prosody (OP-20190408-142752)
Supervised by: Philip GARNER


In the context of a new Swiss NSF grant, we seek a PhD student to work on neural architectures for speech technology. At the outset, we expect the work to involve spiking neural networks, and to be applied to synthesis of speech prosody.

The research will build on work done recently at Idiap on creating tools for physiologically plausible modelling of speech. The current "toolbox" contains rudimentary muscle models and means to drive these using conventional (deep) neural networks. The main focus of the work will involve use of spiking neural networks such as the "integrate and fire" type that is broadly representative of those found in biological systems. Whilst we have focused so far on prosody (actually intonation), the application is open ended; the focus is on the neural modelling. A key problem to be solved will be that of training of the spiking networks, especially with the recurrence that is usual in such networks. We hope to be able to train and use spiking networks as easily as conventional backpropagation networks, and to shed light on current understanding of how biological spiking networks learn (e.g., via spike timing-dependent plasticity).

The ideal Ph.D student should have a master (or equivalent) degree in engineering, computer science, or applied mathematics. Graduates of neuroscience programs would also be well qualified. S/he should have a good background in mathematics, statistics, and programming (C/C++, Python, scripting languages). In order to balance the group, we especially encourage female applicants. However, all applications will be judged on merit.

The position is available from November 2019; selection will commence immediately and continue until the position is filled

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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