PhD: Interactive Imitation Learning Delft University of Technology, Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering Netherlands

PhD: Interactive Imitation Learning


Department/faculty: Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering


Level: University Graduate


Working hours: 38-40 hours weekly


Contract: 4 years


Salary: 2266 - 2897 euros monthly (full-time basis)


Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

 

The 3mE Faculty trains committed engineering students, PhD candidates and post-doctoral researchers in groundbreaking scientific research in the fields of mechanical, maritime and materials engineering. 3mE is the epitome of a dynamic, innovative faculty, with a European scope that contributes demonstrable economic and social benefits.


The main focus of the Cognitive Robotics department is the development of intelligent robots and vehicles that will advance mobility, productivity and quality of life. Our mission is to bring robotic solutions to human-inhabited environments, focusing on research in the areas of machine perception, motion planning and control, machine learning, automatic control and physical interaction of intelligent machines with humans. We combine fundamental research with work on physical demonstrators in areas such as self-driving vehicles, collaborative industrial robots, mobile manipulators and haptic interfaces. Strong collaborations exist with cross-faculty institutes TU Delft Robotics Institute and TU Delft Transport Institute), our national robotic ecosystem (RoboValley, Holland Robotics) and international industry and academia. For more information, see http://www.cor.tudelft.nl/.

 

Job description


Programming and re-programming robots is extremely time-consuming and expensive, which presents a major bottleneck for new industrial, agricultural, care, and household robot applications. The goal of this project is to enable robots to learn how to perform manipulation tasks from few human demonstrations, based on novel interactive machine learning techniques. Robot learning will no longer rely on initial demonstrations only, but it will effectively use additional user feedback to continuously optimize the task performance. It will enable the user to directly perceive and correct undesirable behavior and to quickly guide the robot toward the target behavior. The PhD will explore various aspects of interactive imitation learning: robot-driven disambiguation, the robot actively testing possibilities, as well as user-driven corrections. The approaches will be evaluated with generic real-world robotic force-interaction tasks related to handling and (dis)assembly. The potential of the newly developed teaching framework will be demonstrated with challenging bi-manual tasks and a final study evaluating how well novice human operators can teach novel tasks to a robot.

 

The PhD position is in the context of the project “Teaching Robots Interactively” (TERI), funded by the European Research Council as ERC Starting Grant.

 

Requirements


The candidate has a very good MSc degree in systems and control, mechanical engineering, applied mathematics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, electrical engineering, computer science, or a related field. The candidate must have strong analytical skills and must be able to work at the intersection of several research domains. A very good command of the English language is required, as well as excellent communication skills. Candidates having exhibited their ability to perform research in robotics and/or machine learning are especially encouraged to apply.

 

Conditions of employment


TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.


As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit http://www.tudelft.nl/phd for more information.

 

Information and application


If you have specific questions about this position, please contact Dr. Jens Kober, e-mail: J.Kober@tudelft.nl.
Please do not send application emails here, but use the specified address below.

 

To apply, please prepare:

 

  • a letter of motivation explaining why you are the right candidate,
  • a detailed CV,
  • a complete record of Bachelor and Master courses (including grades),
  • your Master’s Thesis (at least as draft),
  • any publications, and a list of projects you have worked on with brief descriptions of your contributions (max 2 pages), and
  • the names and contact addresses of two or three references.

 

All these items should be combined in one PDF document. Applications should be submitted by email at the earliest convenience to application-3mE@tudelft.nl. When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number 3mE18-68. The call for applications will remain open until the ideal candidate is found. The earliest starting date is 1 February 2019.


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