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PhD Studentship - NEUROSCAPE - a Virtual Reality Artificial Environment for Simulated Neural Development Studies

University of Southampton

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Southampton
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £15,009
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 13th February 2020
Closes: 31st August 2020
 

Supervisor: Prof. Andrew Brown

Co-supervisor: Dr. Graeme Bragg, Professor John Chad

Project description

POETS - Partial Ordered Event Triggered Systems - technology is based on the idea of an extremely large number (millions) of small cores, embedded in a fast, bespoke, hardware, parallel communications infrastructure - the core mesh. Inter-core communication is asynchronous, and effected by small, fixed size, hardware data packets (a few bytes) - messages. For an important set of industrial problems, POETS architectures are capable of delivering orders of magnitude speed increases at significantly lower power levels. This project is about accelerating a simulation application using POETS.

Event-based processing is a completely novel kind of computation technique, which bears little or no resemblance to Turing’s original concept of sixty years ago. One of the triumphs of the technique is to be able to simulate the behaviour of massive aggregates of neurons, on a scale and at a speed unattainable with conventional machines. The headline goal is to be able to simulate the behaviour of a billion neurons in real time, using around a million conventional cores. As neural ensembles become ever more complex, amongst the technical challenges facing the human experimenter is that of interpreting the output: a billion time histories is a formidable mass of data to mine. Received neuroscience wisdom says that the best way to study the high-level behaviour of a large neural ensemble is to embed it in a virtual reality environment, where complex emergent behaviour can be (relatively) easily identified and manipulated. To achieve this requires that the simulation is capable of reacting to stimuli in real time, and this is just what event-based processing can do.

Artificial environments provide the de facto technique for neural development studies, supporting a controlled environment for real-time interaction with:

  • (Models of) primitive organisms hosted by the POETS engine
  • (Models of) primitive organisms hosted on conventional machines
  • Human operators

This project will focus in the design and interfacing of a virtual environment, to support neurobiological development studies of primitive creatures within the simulation environment.

POETS Website

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Graeme Bragg or Professor Andrew Brown or Professor John Chad, Sustainable Electronic Technologies (SET)Research Group, Email: gmb@ecs.soton.ac.uk/adb@ecs.soton.ac.uk/jchad@soton.ac.uk Tel: +44 (0) 2380 593374

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2020 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: full tuition plus, for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £15,009 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.

How To Apply

Applications should be made online here selecting “PhD Electrical and Electronic Engineering (Full time)” as the programme. Please enter Andrew Brown under the proposed supervisor.

Applications should include:

  • Research Proposal
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Two reference letters
  • Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online: www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/how-to-apply/postgraduate-applications.page

For further information please contact: feps-pgr-apply@soton.ac.uk

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