Research Associate in the Department of Informatics

King's College London

We are looking for a post-doctoral researcher to join the EPSRC project AI-Planning with Continuous Non-Linear Change. The project involves the combination of state-of-the-art AI planning techniques with Mixed Integer Programming models; as such we are looking for a researcher with a background in AI Planning, Optimisation or another related area of Computer Science or Mathematics.

Planning is essential to intelligent autonomous behaviour. Given an initial state, a desired goal and a set of actions that can be achieved the task of planning is to find a sequence of actions that transforms the initial state into a state that satisfies the goal. AI planners are domain-independent software systems that generate such plans, and because of their generality have been applied to a diverse range of real scenarios including power grid management, autonomous space exploration and robotic home help assistants. 

The challenge in deploying planners more widely lies in the ability to reason about expressive models representing realistic features of the world, including time and numeric quantities that change continuously over time. The AI Planning Group at King’s has a long and successful history in this line of research and this project is an exciting opportunity to take this to the next step: extending our work on reasoning about linear continuous numeric change to a non-linear setting. Our techniques involve combining standard propositional temporal planning approaches, with a mixed integer programming solver. We plan to extend this to non-linear reasoning by making increasingly accurate upper and lower-bounding piecewise linear approximations as required. The post-doc on the project will be involved in developing and refining appropriate approximations as well as implementing these within our existing C++ code-base. 

The post-holder will collaborate with the Principal Investigator to develop and implement techniques for planning with non-linear continuous change. They will be expected to contribute to the research climate within the department, and to conduct and publish high-quality research. The post-holder should be in place by 1 January 2017 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Salary Details: Grade 6 £32,958 per annum, plus £2,623 London Weighting Allowance

Essential elements of person specification:

  • PhD awarded in a relevant area of Computer Science (e.g. AI Planning, Optimisation Research), Mathematics or a Mathematical Discipline relevant to the project. Or PhD in the same subjects near completion. 
  • Strong C++ Programming Skills.
  • Ability to initiate, develop and deliver high quality research and to publish in peer reviewed conferences and journals.
  • Ability to write research reports and papers in styles accessible to academic audiences.
  • Effective communication (oral and written) skills.
  • Experience of presenting research to an academic audience.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team on research programmes.
  • Willingness to participate in public engagement activities.     

To apply for this role, please go to the KCL HireWire Job Board and register to download and submit the specified application form.

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