News Details

Scholarships for the Introduction to a Research Career "JAE Intro ICU 2021"
Scholarships for the Introduction to a Research Career "JAE Intro ICU 2021"

05/JUL/2021
05/JUL/2021

 

The Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (IIIA-CSIC) offers up to 5 scholarships for the introduction to a research career, in the context of CSIC's JAE Intro Programme.

Training plans and mentors:

  1. Computational intelligence techniques applied to variations of the minimum positive influence dominating set problem in social networks (JAEIntroICU-2021-IIIA-01)
    Mentor: Dr. Christian Blum (christian.blum@iiia.csic.es)

    The minimum positive influence dominating set (MPIDS) problem is an NP-hard combinatorial optimization problem in social networks. In technical terms, the MPIDS problem can be described as follows. Given a network G=(V, E), the problem requires finding a dominating set of minimum cardinality such that at least half of the neighbors of each vertex form part of the dominating set. The aim of the MPIDS problem is to identify a small subset of key influential individuals to speed up the spread of positive influence in a network. Other applications of the MPIDS problem can be found in e-learning software, online business, drinking, smoking, and drug-related problems. In this project, we aim to apply computational intelligence techniques–such as, for example, recent negative learning variants of ant colony optimization–to solve variations of the MPIDS problem that are obtained by varying the number of neighbors of a vertex that are required to form part of a solution. This aspect has not been studied in the related literature so far.
     
  2. Unification in constructive reasoning (JAEIntroICU-2021-IIIA-02)
    Mentor: Dra. Amanda Vidal (amanda@iiia.csic.es)

    When resorting to formal reasoning systems, it is often useful to recognize satisfiable formulas and to exhibit substitutions that make two formulas equivalent if possible. This problem, known as unification, is instrumental for solving generalizations of the SAT problem as SMT and resolution in first-order logic. It also allows studying satisfiability modulo some theory that encodes the a priori knowledge about the framework under consideration. A typical instance of this problem requires, given a formula A, to compute a minimal complete set unifiers for A (in the most studied cases, substitutions that turn A into a valid formula). When it exists, this minimal set will have good computational properties that make it a valuable tool in automated deduction.
    The project will focus on studying the previous aspects of unification in the setting of intuitionistic logic, the formal system that governs the constructive (i.e., not allowing to derive conclusions by means of contradictions) and computational aspects of mathematics, in view of the Curry-Howard correspondence between proofs and programs. In recent years, intuitionistic logic has become a fundamental tool in formal verification and the development of proof assistants such as Coq and Agda. This makes intuitionistic logic a natural target for the computational problems surrounding unification that we aim to solve. These include developing efficient algorithms for identifying minimal sets of unifiers in fragments and extensions of intuitionistic logic.
    The candidate will be expected to study and apprehend the relevant literature, and to be able to work under guidance in the above problems in order to relevantly contribute to the elaboration of an original piece of research and to write a master thesis on this topic. Familiarity with mathematical methodology is expected (preferably having a degree in Mathematics), and it will also be valued having taken courses on logic, computability, and complexity theory.
     
  3. Agent-based simulations and immersive technologies for fire department training (JAEIntroICU-2021-IIIA-03)
    Mentor: Dr. Jordi Sabater-Mir (jsabater@iiia.csic.es)

    The use of simulations in virtual environments for the training of emergency forces has proven to be very useful to improve these units' operational level when faced with a real problem. However, the use of these generic tools has its limitations. One of them is that they do not allow multilevel simulations in which low-ranking units located in the focus of the emergency, middle managers, and high-level managers can participate simultaneously in a single scenario.
    A scenario of this complexity requires a set of federated simulations that communicate with each other, providing a different level of granularity according to the participant's tasks and using different interfaces to interact with him/her (CAVE, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, standard screens…).
    The candidate will participate in different tasks of the definition and implementation of this technology that is beginning to be developed in the IIIA-CSIC in collaboration with the fire department of the "Generalitat de Catalunya". Specifically, she/he will participate in the development of the simulations and the design of their interface with humans using Virtual Reality and other immersive technologies.
    Courses in Artificial Intelligence, advanced knowledge of Python programming, and knowledge of the Unity video game development environment will be valued.
     
  4. Embodied Cognition in Making Sense of Diagrams (JAEIntroICU-2021-IIIA-04)
    Mentors: Dr. Marco Schorlemmer (marco@iiia.csic.es), Dimitra Bourou (dbourou@iiia.csic.es)

    An important part of AI research is that of implementing computational models of certain aspects of human cognition, so as to enhance the potential of human-computer collaboration in particular domains. Contemporary cognitive science has provided evidence that human creative reasoning and problem-solving processes are partly grounded on our bodily experience with the world. This embodied cognition seems to be central for making sense of the unstructured stimuli we perceive (e.g., when looking at a diagram, or hearing the sound frequencies of a song) by projecting onto them the structure of preexisting mental frames. These frames are shaped through continuous experiences in the physical world.
    This project will focus on the domain of reasoning with diagrams, which are ubiquitous in the current practice of many engineering and scientific disciplines. In particular, we shall identify the basic embodied cognitive principles underlying our making sense of diagrams. For this, we will draw from well-known theories of cognitive linguistics such as ‘images schemas’ and ‘conceptual blending’. We will formalize and implement these cognitive principles, and simulate the reasoning and problem-solving processes underlying the way humans make sense of diagrams in these disciplines. Our model has already been implemented in a computer-executable language, based on first-order logic, with several schemas, interpreting four different diagrams and some of the conclusions a human can draw by observing them.  The objectives of this project is to obtain a variety of image schema specifications, in order to offer a rich, reusable, open-source library to the community, and to be able to study a variety of factors affecting the efficacy of diagrams for reasoning.
    This is a highly interdisciplinary project, bringing together techniques from cognitive linguistics, computer science, mathematical logic, and philosophy.
     
  5. An AI-based recommendation system for “green routes” in sustainable urban environments (JAEIntroICU-2021-IIIA-05)
    Mentor: Dr. Filippo Bistaffa (filippo.bistaffa@iiia.csic.es)

    The main objective of this project is to develop an AI system that recommends “green routes” to citizens that commute (either by foot or by bike) within an urban environment (in this case, Barcelona), by taking into account both the quality of the environment (e.g., reduced levels of emissions, presence of green spaces and parks, etc.) and the minimization of the travel time.
    More specifically, the project will involve two phases. (1) An initial phase of analysis of the data available on the “Open Data Portal” provided by the Barcelona Administration, including the data collected by the network of sensors monitoring the level of pollutant emissions and quality of the air. (2) Subsequently, the considered problem will be formalized as a multi-objective optimization problem considering a tradeoff between the two above-mentioned criteria.
    This project belongs to the field named “Computational Sustainability”, which aims at proposing new AI techniques with the objective of achieving better sustainability in various aspects of human society.
     
  6. Implementing a negotiation bot for the game of Diplomacy (JAEIntroICU-2021-IIIA-06)
    Mentor: Dr. Dave de Jonge (davedejonge@iiia.csic.es)

    Diplomacy is a strategic board game for seven players, which is also commonly used as a testbed for artificial intelligence. Unlike traditional 2-player games like chess and go, it involves coalition formation, negotiation, and deception between the players, which makes it a much more interesting, but also more challenging game. Now that modern chess and go programs are already superior to humans, Diplomacy is often considered the next frontier in artificial intelligence, and large companies such as Google's DeepMind are currently working on it.
    Dr. Dave de Jonge is one of the world's leading experts in this game, and he has already implemented a strong bot that is able to play the game, but it is not yet capable of negotiating with its opponents. Therefore, the goal of this project is to implement an algorithm (in Java) that can find good deals for this bot to propose to its coalition partners. For example, it could discover that England should propose to France to jointly attack Germany. Furthermore, Dr. de Jonge already has a basic idea of how such a negotiation algorithm would work, so the main goal for the student would be to implement this idea, perform experiments, and determine how well it works. And, perhaps, based on the results of those experiments, the student could even figure out ways to improve the idea.

The Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (IIIA-CSIC) offers up to 5 scholarships for the introduction to a research career, in the context of CSIC's JAE Intro Programme.

Training plans and mentors:

  1. Computational intelligence techniques applied to variations of the minimum positive influence dominating set problem in social networks (JAEIntroICU-2021-IIIA-01)
    Mentor: Dr. Christian Blum (christian.blum@iiia.csic.es)

    The minimum positive influence dominating set (MPIDS) problem is an NP-hard combinatorial optimization problem in social networks. In technical terms, the MPIDS problem can be described as follows. Given a network G=(V, E), the problem requires finding a dominating set of minimum cardinality such that at least half of the neighbors of each vertex form part of the dominating set. The aim of the MPIDS problem is to identify a small subset of key influential individuals to speed up the spread of positive influence in a network. Other applications of the MPIDS problem can be found in e-learning software, online business, drinking, smoking, and drug-related problems. In this project, we aim to apply computational intelligence techniques–such as, for example, recent negative learning variants of ant colony optimization–to solve variations of the MPIDS problem that are obtained by varying the number of neighbors of a vertex that are required to form part of a solution. This aspect has not been studied in the related literature so far.
     
  2. Unification in constructive reasoning (JAEIntroICU-2021-IIIA-02)
    Mentor: Dra. Amanda Vidal (amanda@iiia.csic.es)

    When resorting to formal reasoning systems, it is often useful to recognize satisfiable formulas and to exhibit substitutions that make two formulas equivalent if possible. This problem, known as unification, is instrumental for solving generalizations of the SAT problem as SMT and resolution in first-order logic. It also allows studying satisfiability modulo some theory that encodes the a priori knowledge about the framework under consideration. A typical instance of this problem requires, given a formula A, to compute a minimal complete set unifiers for A (in the most studied cases, substitutions that turn A into a valid formula). When it exists, this minimal set will have good computational properties that make it a valuable tool in automated deduction.
    The project will focus on studying the previous aspects of unification in the setting of intuitionistic logic, the formal system that governs the constructive (i.e., not allowing to derive conclusions by means of contradictions) and computational aspects of mathematics, in view of the Curry-Howard correspondence between proofs and programs. In recent years, intuitionistic logic has become a fundamental tool in formal verification and the development of proof assistants such as Coq and Agda. This makes intuitionistic logic a natural target for the computational problems surrounding unification that we aim to solve. These include developing efficient algorithms for identifying minimal sets of unifiers in fragments and extensions of intuitionistic logic.
    The candidate will be expected to study and apprehend the relevant literature, and to be able to work under guidance in the above problems in order to relevantly contribute to the elaboration of an original piece of research and to write a master thesis on this topic. Familiarity with mathematical methodology is expected (preferably having a degree in Mathematics), and it will also be valued having taken courses on logic, computability, and complexity theory.
     
  3. Agent-based simulations and immersive technologies for fire department training (JAEIntroICU-2021-IIIA-03)
    Mentor: Dr. Jordi Sabater-Mir (jsabater@iiia.csic.es)

    The use of simulations in virtual environments for the training of emergency forces has proven to be very useful to improve these units' operational level when faced with a real problem. However, the use of these generic tools has its limitations. One of them is that they do not allow multilevel simulations in which low-ranking units located in the focus of the emergency, middle managers, and high-level managers can participate simultaneously in a single scenario.
    A scenario of this complexity requires a set of federated simulations that communicate with each other, providing a different level of granularity according to the participant's tasks and using different interfaces to interact with him/her (CAVE, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, standard screens…).
    The candidate will participate in different tasks of the definition and implementation of this technology that is beginning to be developed in the IIIA-CSIC in collaboration with the fire department of the "Generalitat de Catalunya". Specifically, she/he will participate in the development of the simulations and the design of their interface with humans using Virtual Reality and other immersive technologies.
    Courses in Artificial Intelligence, advanced knowledge of Python programming, and knowledge of the Unity video game development environment will be valued.
     
  4. Embodied Cognition in Making Sense of Diagrams (JAEIntroICU-2021-IIIA-04)
    Mentors: Dr. Marco Schorlemmer (marco@iiia.csic.es), Dimitra Bourou (dbourou@iiia.csic.es)

    An important part of AI research is that of implementing computational models of certain aspects of human cognition, so as to enhance the potential of human-computer collaboration in particular domains. Contemporary cognitive science has provided evidence that human creative reasoning and problem-solving processes are partly grounded on our bodily experience with the world. This embodied cognition seems to be central for making sense of the unstructured stimuli we perceive (e.g., when looking at a diagram, or hearing the sound frequencies of a song) by projecting onto them the structure of preexisting mental frames. These frames are shaped through continuous experiences in the physical world.
    This project will focus on the domain of reasoning with diagrams, which are ubiquitous in the current practice of many engineering and scientific disciplines. In particular, we shall identify the basic embodied cognitive principles underlying our making sense of diagrams. For this, we will draw from well-known theories of cognitive linguistics such as ‘images schemas’ and ‘conceptual blending’. We will formalize and implement these cognitive principles, and simulate the reasoning and problem-solving processes underlying the way humans make sense of diagrams in these disciplines. Our model has already been implemented in a computer-executable language, based on first-order logic, with several schemas, interpreting four different diagrams and some of the conclusions a human can draw by observing them.  The objectives of this project is to obtain a variety of image schema specifications, in order to offer a rich, reusable, open-source library to the community, and to be able to study a variety of factors affecting the efficacy of diagrams for reasoning.
    This is a highly interdisciplinary project, bringing together techniques from cognitive linguistics, computer science, mathematical logic, and philosophy.
     
  5. An AI-based recommendation system for “green routes” in sustainable urban environments (JAEIntroICU-2021-IIIA-05)
    Mentor: Dr. Filippo Bistaffa (filippo.bistaffa@iiia.csic.es)

    The main objective of this project is to develop an AI system that recommends “green routes” to citizens that commute (either by foot or by bike) within an urban environment (in this case, Barcelona), by taking into account both the quality of the environment (e.g., reduced levels of emissions, presence of green spaces and parks, etc.) and the minimization of the travel time.
    More specifically, the project will involve two phases. (1) An initial phase of analysis of the data available on the “Open Data Portal” provided by the Barcelona Administration, including the data collected by the network of sensors monitoring the level of pollutant emissions and quality of the air. (2) Subsequently, the considered problem will be formalized as a multi-objective optimization problem considering a tradeoff between the two above-mentioned criteria.
    This project belongs to the field named “Computational Sustainability”, which aims at proposing new AI techniques with the objective of achieving better sustainability in various aspects of human society.
     
  6. Implementing a negotiation bot for the game of Diplomacy (JAEIntroICU-2021-IIIA-06)
    Mentor: Dr. Dave de Jonge (davedejonge@iiia.csic.es)

    Diplomacy is a strategic board game for seven players, which is also commonly used as a testbed for artificial intelligence. Unlike traditional 2-player games like chess and go, it involves coalition formation, negotiation, and deception between the players, which makes it a much more interesting, but also more challenging game. Now that modern chess and go programs are already superior to humans, Diplomacy is often considered the next frontier in artificial intelligence, and large companies such as Google's DeepMind are currently working on it.
    Dr. Dave de Jonge is one of the world's leading experts in this game, and he has already implemented a strong bot that is able to play the game, but it is not yet capable of negotiating with its opponents. Therefore, the goal of this project is to implement an algorithm (in Java) that can find good deals for this bot to propose to its coalition partners. For example, it could discover that England should propose to France to jointly attack Germany. Furthermore, Dr. de Jonge already has a basic idea of how such a negotiation algorithm would work, so the main goal for the student would be to implement this idea, perform experiments, and determine how well it works. And, perhaps, based on the results of those experiments, the student could even figure out ways to improve the idea.

Requirements:

  • Being enrolled at the time of application, or having completed in 2018 or later, a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics or similar disciplines, and not being in possession or legal disposition of obtaining a Doctoral degree.
     
  • Having an average grade in undergraduate studies equal to or greater than 7.00 on a scale of 0-10 and with two decimal places, at the time of acceptance of the scholarship or within the application period.
     
  • In case of having completed the Bachelor's degree, being pre-admitted or admitted to an Official University Master's Degree for the academic year 2021-2022 in the area of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, and to show, at the time of the acceptance of the scholarship, of the enrollment in the Master's programme.
  • Being enrolled at the time of application, or having completed in 2018 or later, a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics or similar disciplines, and not being in possession or legal disposition of obtaining a Doctoral degree.
     
  • Having an average grade in undergraduate studies equal to or greater than 7.00 on a scale of 0-10 and with two decimal places, at the time of acceptance of the scholarship or within the application period.
     
  • In case of having completed the Bachelor's degree, being pre-admitted or admitted to an Official University Master's Degree for the academic year 2021-2022 in the area of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, and to show, at the time of the acceptance of the scholarship, of the enrollment in the Master's programme.

Salary: 

5400€, 600€ per month
5400€, 600€ per month

Duration: 

9 months
9 months

Workday: 

20 hours per week
20 hours per week

Workplace: 

IIIA-CSIC, Campus UAB, Bellaterra (Barcelona)
IIIA-CSIC, Campus UAB, Bellaterra (Barcelona)

Start date: 

September or October 2021
September or October 2021

Closing date: 

25/JUL/2021
25/JUL/2021


Applicants must submit the applications according to the model available at https://sede.csic.gob.es/intro2021icu to IIIA-CSIC's Selection Commission, by sending an email to marco@iiia.csic.es, with the following information:

  1. Valid proof of identity document. In the case of non-EU foreign applicants who do not have a permit o residence, their passport.
  2. Selected training plan. Topics other than those offered can be proposed to be agreed upon between the candidate and the supervising researcher. The agreement needs to be endorsed by the president of IIIA-CSIC's Selection Commission.
  3. Date of commencement of the stay and its duration. The interested student may reach an agreement with the researcher responsible for the training plan that he or she selects on its starting date and its duration. The agreement needs to be endorsed by the president of IIIA-CSIC's Selection Commission.
  4. Attached documentation: Curriculum vitae (CV),motivation letter, and academic record or certificate of the applicant. In the case of studies completed, partially or totally, in a foreign university systems, the document generated by the Ministry of Education and Professional Training (MEFP) with the calculation of the equivalence of the qualifications obtained with the Spanish qualification scale, available to the users in the portal "Equivalence of average marks of university studies carried out in foreign centers", together with the transcript or personal academic certificate.
  5. Declaration (according to the model available at https://sede.csic.gob.es/intro2021icu) of not having been a beneficiary of an Introduction to Research grant within the JAE program, in the previous calls, on the date the application was submitted; of not being in possession of the title of Doctor, by any Spanish or foreign university; and not to be physically incapacitated or suffer from illness that could impede the development of the training activity that constitutes the object of the scholarship. The requesting person must notify the investigating body of any possible alterations to the circumstances contained in said statement. The modification of the circumstances included in the declaration will give rise to the non-fulfillment of the participation requirements by the applicant.

Applicants must submit the applications according to the model available at https://sede.csic.gob.es/intro2021icu to IIIA-CSIC's Selection Commission, by sending an email to marco@iiia.csic.es, with the following information:

  1. Valid proof of identity document. In the case of non-EU foreign applicants who do not have a permit o residence, their passport.
  2. Selected training plan. Topics other than those offered can be proposed to be agreed upon between the candidate and the supervising researcher. The agreement needs to be endorsed by the president of IIIA-CSIC's Selection Commission.
  3. Date of commencement of the stay and its duration. The interested student may reach an agreement with the researcher responsible for the training plan that he or she selects on its starting date and its duration. The agreement needs to be endorsed by the president of IIIA-CSIC's Selection Commission.
  4. Attached documentation: Curriculum vitae (CV),motivation letter, and academic record or certificate of the applicant. In the case of studies completed, partially or totally, in a foreign university systems, the document generated by the Ministry of Education and Professional Training (MEFP) with the calculation of the equivalence of the qualifications obtained with the Spanish qualification scale, available to the users in the portal "Equivalence of average marks of university studies carried out in foreign centers", together with the transcript or personal academic certificate.
  5. Declaration (according to the model available at https://sede.csic.gob.es/intro2021icu) of not having been a beneficiary of an Introduction to Research grant within the JAE program, in the previous calls, on the date the application was submitted; of not being in possession of the title of Doctor, by any Spanish or foreign university; and not to be physically incapacitated or suffer from illness that could impede the development of the training activity that constitutes the object of the scholarship. The requesting person must notify the investigating body of any possible alterations to the circumstances contained in said statement. The modification of the circumstances included in the declaration will give rise to the non-fulfillment of the participation requirements by the applicant.


For more information, please contact Marco Schorlemmer <marco@iiia.csic.es>.

For more information, please contact Marco Schorlemmer <marco@iiia.csic.es>.