Post-doc position in Robot Learning for Dexterous Manipulation - [ Postdoc ]

Workplace: IIT@CHT
Added on: 07/06/2016 - Expires on: 06/07/2016

The Learning and Interaction Group Lab at IIT (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Genoa, Italy) is looking for an outstanding, highly motivated postdoctoral researcher to work in the field of robot learning for dexterous manipulation.

The position is offered within the PHOLUS project, which is aimed at designing, building and controlling a high performance, high efficiency electric platform that will combine a quadruped-legged base with a twin- armed high dexterity upper body in a configuration that is inspired by the Centaurs of mythology. This combination will amalgamate the talents and capabilities of highly dynamic quadrupedal locomotion over rough and unstructured terrain with a humanoid-inspired upper body/arms/dexterous hands covered with tactile sensors to provide a high dexterity bi-manual manipulative structure. This will allow the PHOLUS robot to navigate, observe, interact and respond effectively in highly unstructured outdoor environments and human engineered locations (e.g. disaster recovery in buildings, access complex power/process/chemical/oil installations) addressing key issues in robot robustness and reliability; autonomous operation; semi-autonomous operation; tele-operation; tactile sensing; active perception; affordances learning; agile loco-manipulation, grasping and dexterity; locomotion; whole-body interactions; whole-body motion planning and control; visualisation; and navigation, localisation and mapping.

The post-doc will research into innovative methods/frameworks to learn dexterous manipulation skills through a combination of programming by demonstration, optimization and reinforcement learning. Such manipulation skills will exploit a rich sensory system composed of vision/force/tactile sensors, and will also consider physical interaction with the environment and/or humans. The proposed approaches will be tested in a set of unique robotics platforms at IIT (e.g., COMAN, WALKMAN, Centauro, among others) and also in commercial robots.

Desired qualifications include: 

- PhD degree in computer science, electrical or mechanical engineering (clearly related to machine learning and/or robotics).

- Experience in reinforcement learning, learning from demonstration, and/or optimal control.

- Experience in machine learning for robotic (uni- and bi-manual) manipulation.

- Experience in tactile sensing for robotic manipulation is desirable but not required.

- Excellent publication record.

- Creativity and proactive attitude.

- Fluency in both spoken and written English.

- Strong team player.

The salary will depend on qualifications and experience and will include additional health benefits.

To apply, please send electronically a detailed CV with list of publications, university transcripts, your best first-author paper, a cover letter outlining motivation and statement of research interests/plan and two references letters to applications@iit.it stating “LIG Post-Doc CB 72442” in the subject of the e-mail. Only complete applications will be evaluated.

For questions/info please contact Dr. Leonel Rozo (leonel.rozo@iit.it) or Prof. Darwin G. Caldwell (darwin.caldwell@iit.it).

Application deadline: July 6th, 2016

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, with its headquarters in Genova, Italy, is a non-profit institution with the primary goal of creating and disseminating scientific knowledge and strengthening Italy’s technological competitiveness. The institute offers state-of-the-art equipment and a top-level interdisciplinary research environment focused on robotics and computer vision, neuroscience, drug discovery, nanoscience and technology.

In order to comply with Italian law (art. 23 of Privacy Law of the Italian Legislative Decree n. 196/03), the candidate is kindly asked to give his/her consent to allow IIT to process his/her personal data.

We inform you that the information you provide will be solely used for the purpose of assessing your professional profile to meet the requirements of Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia.

Your data will be processed by Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, with its headquarters in Genoa, Via Morego 30, acting as the Data Holder, using computer and paper-based means, observing the rules on the protection of personal data, including those relating to the security of data.

Please also note that, pursuant to art. 7 of Legislative Decree 196/2003, you may exercise your rights at any time as a party concerned by contacting the Data Manager.

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia is an Equal Opportunity Employer that actively seeks diversity in the workforce.

Contacts
Darwin Caldwell
Darwin.Caldwell@iit.it

applications@iit.it
LEONEL ROZO
leonel.rozo@iit.it
Involved Research lines
Advanced Robotics

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I numeri di IIT

L’Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) è una fondazione di diritto privato - cfr. determinazione Corte dei Conti 23/2015 “IIT è una fondazione da inquadrare fra gli organismi di diritto pubblico con la scelta di un modello di organizzazione di diritto privato per rispondere all’esigenza di assicurare procedure più snelle nella selezione non solo nell’ambito nazionale dei collaboratori, scienziati e ricercatori ”.

IIT è sotto la vigilanza del Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca e del Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze ed è stato istituito con la Legge 326/2003. La Fondazione ha l'obiettivo di promuovere l'eccellenza nella ricerca di base e in quella applicata e di favorire lo sviluppo del sistema economico nazionale. La costruzione dei laboratori iniziata nel 2006 si è conclusa nel 2009.

Lo staff complessivo di IIT conta circa 1440 persone. L’area scientifica è rappresentata da circa l’85% del personale. Il 45% dei ricercatori proviene dall’estero: di questi, il 29% è costituito da stranieri provenienti da oltre 50 Paesi e il 16% da italiani rientrati. Oggi il personale scientifico è composto da circa 60 principal investigators, circa 110 ricercatori e tecnologi di staff, circa 350 post doc, circa 500 studenti di dottorato e borsisti, circa 130 tecnici. Oltre 330 posti su 1400 creati su fondi esterni. Età media 34 anni. 41% donne / 59 % uomini.

Nel 2015 IIT ha ricevuto finanziamenti pubblici per circa 96 milioni di euro (80% del budget), conseguendo fondi esterni per 22 milioni di euro (20% budget) provenienti da 18 progetti europei17 finanziamenti da istituzioni nazionali e internazionali, circa 60 progetti industriali

La produzione di IIT ad oggi vanta circa 6990 pubblicazioni, oltre 130 finanziamenti Europei e 11 ERC, più di 350 domande di brevetto attive, oltre 12 start up costituite e altrettante in fase di lancio. Dal 2009 l’attività scientifica è stata ulteriormente rafforzata con la creazione di dieci centri di ricerca nel territorio nazionale (a Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) e internazionale (MIT ed Harvard negli USA) che, unitamente al Laboratorio Centrale di Genova, sviluppano i programmi di ricerca del piano scientifico 2015-2017.

IIT: the numbers

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is a public research institute that adopts the organizational model of a private law foundation. IIT is overseen by Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca and Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze (the Italian Ministries of Education, Economy and Finance).  The Institute was set up according to Italian law 326/2003 with the objective of promoting excellence in basic and applied research andfostering Italy’s economic development. Construction of the Laboratories started in 2006 and finished in 2009.

IIT has an overall staff of about 1,440 people. The scientific staff covers about 85% of the total. Out of 45% of researchers coming from abroad 29% are foreigners coming from more than 50 countries and 16% are returned Italians. The scientific staff currently consists of approximately 60 Principal Investigators110 researchers and technologists350 post-docs and 500 PhD students and grant holders and 130 technicians. External funding has allowed the creation of more than 330 positions . The average age is 34 and the gender balance proportion  is 41% female against 59% male.

In 2015 IIT received 96 million euros in public funding (accounting for 80% of its budget) and obtained 22 million euros in external funding (accounting for 20% of its budget). External funding comes from 18 European Projects, other 17 national and international competitive projects and approximately 60 industrial projects.

So far IIT accounts for: about 6990 publications, more than 130 European grants and 11 ERC grants, more than 350 patents or patent applications12 up start-ups and as many  which are about to be launched. The Institute’s scientific activity has been further strengthened since 2009 with the establishment of 11 research nodes throughout Italy (Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) and abroad (MIT and Harvard University, USA), which, along with the Genoa-based Central Lab, implement the research programs included in the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan.