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Position:

Type: PhD Student
Name (ID): PhD position in Neural Architectures for Speech Technology (OP-20201216-164319)
Supervised by: Phil Garner

Description:

In the context of a 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 production and perception, 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. More recently, the focus has been on theoretical underpinnings via rigorous Bayesian techniques.

We expect the work will commence with a study of current "neural" vocoders, focusing on those based on physiological models and on normalising flow. Although the project remit is quite open, a significant research thread will be to factorise these models into physiological and probabilistic components; this will be with a focus on identifying how they may be controlled by external agents such as dialogue managers. Another possible thread is to examine these models in the context of speech recognition. In doing this, we hope not only to enable the next generation of expressive speech recognition and synthesis, but also to make inference about the underlying physiological mechanisms of speech production and perception.

The ideal Ph.D student should have a master (or equivalent) degree in engineering, physics, applied mathematics or similar. 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 spring 2021, fully funded for four years. Selection will commence in the new year 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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