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PhD Studentship: Complexity-driven Neuromorphic Photonics in Ultrafast Nonlinear Systems

Loughborough University - Physics

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Loughborough
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: Fully Funded
Hours: Full Time, Part Time
Placed On: 28th November 2023
Closes: 29th February 2024
Reference: SCI24-JTG
 

Join our cutting-edge research team in the dynamic field of photonic neuromorphic computing, a rapidly evolving domain seeking to address the inherent limitations of conventional Machine Learning (ML) technologies. Current ML methods heavily rely on software-based neural networks, which are prone to escalating power consumption and extensive use of supercomputing resources. Neuromorphic photonics, on the contrary, leverages optical elements, such as miniaturised lasers and optical fibres, to embody neurons and synapses, replicating the functionality of neural networks at the speed of light.

We invite applications for a PhD project centred on integrating complex nonlinear photonics systems as a new-generation hardware platform for neuro-inspired computing. Our approach relies on the principles of nonlinear wave interaction in multimode optical elements, such as multimode optical fibres or integrated lasers. The primary objective is to devise strategies to control multi-mode interactions to emulate the response of a large-scale artificial neural network operating in the optical domain. At the same time, your research will provide new insights into the theoretical and technological requirements for an optical system to be able to "learn" new functionalities. Within the project, you will also be able to participate in our research on quantum reservoir computing, a new and exciting field combining quantum computing and machine learning.

This interdisciplinary PhD project will offer a combination of theoretical/numerical and experimental research. However, we are open to candidates interested in pursuing a theory-only PhD. We particularly encourage applications from individuals belonging to under-represented groups, including but not limited to BAME, disabled, neurodiverse, and female candidates.

Research Group and environment

The PhD research project will be supervised by Dr Juan S. Totero Gongora, Senior Lecturer and EPSRC Quantum Technology Fellow. The research group focuses on machine learning control of ultrafast lasers, neuromorphic photonics and quantum reservoir computing. It is funded by a recently awarded £1M Quantum Technology Fellowship (https://www.ukri.org/news/securing-the-next-generation-of-quantum-technology-researchers) and an EIC-Pathfinder starting in 2024. The team is part of the Emergent Photonics Research Centre (https://www.lboro.ac.uk/research/emergent-photonics), established in 2022 as part of a significant investment from Loughborough University in nonlinear photonics, applied AI and quantum technologies.

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