I have two fully funded PhD positions, to start in 2024 (at least 3 years + 1/2 year of extension if eligible; potentially 3.5 + 0.5 years, to be clarified). These positions are within the DECRA project Automated Modelling Assistance for the Creation of Complex Planning Models, so their topic is already set.
In a nutshell, it will be concerned with:
Modeling support is to be provided for classical non-hierarchical models expressed in PDDL as well as for hierarchical models expressed in HDDL. In case you are interested, please read this entire webpage carefully and then drop me an email.
I expect qualified applicants to have some basic background in planning, but even in case you are not familiar with this discipline yet, you might still get in touch and see whether your expertise fits. For those unfamiliar with planning, I've provided advice on how to get started in the field.
Pretty much everyone who is excited about learning something new and doing so in a team of other passionate and helpful people. You will however have to convince me that you have a reason to apply with me in particular. If you just mentioned how much you like Machine Learning (ML), your application is likely to be ignored as I don't do research in this field (AI is more than ML), and I'd hope that any applicant at least checks out this page.
If you believe that you might not have what it takes to apply, then maybe that's why you should! :) As long as you are willing to learn and convince me that you are hard-working and devoted enough.
Please note however that this is assuming that you are eligible to apply! You will require the respective degree and need to be sufficiently strong (GPA-wise), as this is a requirement by the ANU and independent of my individual preferences. In a nutshell, any degree equivalent to a first-class Honours with a significant research component is required. But please read the official requirements, which you find online; links are provided below.me, but if in doubt, please reach out.
Where to start? :)
There are many "soft reasons", like learning how to become a strong independent scientist or just having fun doing cool stuff for a few years :) with me, colleagues from the ANU, my collaborators from various parts of the world, and of course the super-friendly ICAPS community. (ICAPS is the premier conference on planning, the International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling, ranked A* by CORE.) ICAPS folk sometimes call themselves ICAPS family, and not without a reason! :)
Note that being a PhD student in Australia also means that you will not have any responsibilities other than working on your PhD. In particular this means that you have no teaching duties unless you voluntarily decide to do so (and also get paid for this on top of the PhD scholarship).
But you'd probably also like to know what you could do research-wise. I assume that you are already familiar with the most basic concepts of AI Planning. Based on this, on the most abstract level, I'm primarily doing research in Hierarchical Task Network (HTN) planning, a planning approach based on problem decomposition (quite similar to how formal grammars work). In case you are more interested, you may take a look at this website on hierarchical planning, or check out the webpage on resources for students, which gives some pointers on how to get started with the scientific literature in planning. If you are entirely new to planning you could start by watching my linked YouTube video, but that's of course not required.
More specifically, I am interested in:
You don't have to have a specific dissertation topic in mind. I have plenty to offer and would select in a discussion so we find something you are passionate about.
I'd highly appreciate if you could provide the following information:
That's basically all! We can go from there and have a meeting to discuss further steps. However, note that I will delete your email without response with a probability of exactly 100% if I am not perfectly convinced that you read this webpage. Don't write an essay about it^^, but I need to know that you were professional enough to actually know whom you are writing, why, and what to expect. Applicants who do not even inform themselves very clearly do not even remotely have what it takes to get a PhD -- so they are ignored. (Hint: I am an AI planning expert, so emails that don't even mention that term also have a 100 minus Epsilon percent of getting deleted instantaneously without any reply.) Also, please don't try to flatter me or anything. Be honest and come to the point and I'm more than happy to see what I can do. :)
I receive applications from all over the world thus with all different kinds of traditions regarding the usage of titles. To create a common ground, let me explain a few rules regarding naming conventions:
A PhD at the ANU has to be finished after at most 4 years. The scholarship that the ANU offers is usually 3.5 years with the option to extend by 1/2 year depending on circumstances. At the moment, the annual funding amounts to 34.000 AUD (tax-free, since it's a scholarship). On top of this, the ANU pays for business trips (e.g., for conference visits) until some additional funding lasts. Note that in case of project-funded scholarships (not ANU-funded) the PhD duration might be 3 years + 1/2 year extension (so half a year shorter).
Additional information and details are available here:
If you are a motivated and knowledgeable student, then of course I would love to supervise you! Sadly, there is always limited funding (and time), so I cannot accept everybody. So I list a few options how you could find other positions or supervisors: