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Position:

Type: PhD Student
Name (ID): Neural Architectures for Speech Technology (OP-20191031-101806)
Supervised by: Philip GARNER

Description:

In the context of a new Swiss NSF grant, we seek a PhD student to work in the general area of neural architectures for speech technology. The particular focus of this thesis will be on physiological models of speech prosody, and how such models can be integrated into deep learning solutions. The research will build on work done over the past few years 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. Whilst we have focused so far on prosody (actually intonation), the application is open ended; the main goal is to generalise neural modelling to more closely mimic biological systems. The group also tries to use rigorous Bayesian techniques where possible.

We expect the work will commence with use of spiking neural networks such as the "integrate and fire" type that is broadly representative of those found in biological systems. A key problem to be solved will be that of training such networks in the wider deep learning context, especially with recurrence. 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 networks learn.

The ideal Ph.D student should have a master (or equivalent) degree in engineering, computer science, physics 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 student will be registered at EPFL and located at Idiap. The position is available from late 2019, fully funded for four years. 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 http://www.idiap.ch/en/faq

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