School of Engineering and Applied Science Postgraduate Research Studentship (4 years)

Aston University - Evolutionary Computation for Self-Organising Systems

Applications are invited to apply for one of our four year Postgraduate Research studentships, supported by the School of Engineering and Applied Science, to be undertaken within the Computer Science Research Group at Aston University. The successful applicant will join the newly formed Aston Institute for Systems Analytics.

This studentship is combined with a teaching assistant role. The successful candidate will be required to provide up to an average of 6 hours per week of teaching support for a programming bootcamp; therefore applicants must have a good understanding of Java and SQL. As part of their professional development, students will receive training relevant to their teaching role and will have the chance to complete a Master's level qualification in Professional Practice in Higher Education.

The position is available to start in January 2017 (subject to negotiation).

Financial Support

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the Home/EU tuition fee rate plus a maintenance allowance of £15,000 in 2016/17.

Applicants from outside the EU may apply for this studentship but will need to pay the difference between the ‘Home/EU’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees, currently this is £11,729 for the 2016/17 academic year.

As part of the application you will be required to confirm that you have applied for, or, secured this additional funding.

Background of the Project
Evolutionary computation is the umbrella term used to refer to a family of algorithms inspired from the Darwinian theory of natural evolution. Genetic algorithms, genetic programming, evolutionary strategies, particle swarm optimisation, etc. apply principles similar to those governing biological organisms (such as selection and reproduction) to solve computing problems. Given their success at finding the global optimum of complicated objective functions, evolutionary techniques are mostly seen as optimisation tools.

The scope of the proposed research lies outside the optimisation metaphor. Instead, the aim is to investigate ways in which evolutionary computation may be used to explore systems and their interactions. Thus, this research agenda targets the applications of evolutionary computation in the field of self-organising systems (examples from nature include insect swarms, fish schools and human communes, whereas, in computing, we mention multi-agent systems, swarm robotics and self-organising communication networks). They rely on the emergence of structure (order) from the interaction - be it collaboration or competition - of their components.

For more details, please visit:

and scroll down to Research Projects – PhD studentship description

Person Specification
The successful applicant should have a first class or upper second class honours degree or equivalent qualification in Computer Science or a related degree with a strong focus on programming. Preferred skill requirements include knowledge/experience of evolutionary computation, self-organising systems and writing scientific papers.

For informal enquiries about this project and other opportunities within the Computer Science Research Group, contact Dr Alina Patelli by email

The online application form, reference forms and details of entry requirements, including English language are available here.

Applications must also be accompanied by a research proposal giving an overview of the main themes of the research, and explaining how your knowledge and experience will benefit the project.

Closing Date: 30 November 2016 (or until the position is filled)

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