PhD on Novel Devices and Architectures for Neuromorphic Computing

The Electronic Systems (ES) group within the Department of Electrical Engineering of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is seeking to hire an outstanding PhD candidate within the Horizon Europe project PHASTRAC.

Job description

Project
In recent years, we have witnessed an explosion of artificial intelligence (AI) applications which will continue to grow over the next decade. An intelligent and digitized society will be ubiquitous, enabled by increased advances in nanoelectronics. Key drivers will be sensors interfacing with the physical world and taking appropriate action in a timely manner while operating with energy efficiency and flexibility to adapt. The vast majority of sensors receive analog inputs from the real world and generate analog signals to be processed.

However, digitizing these signals not only creates an enormous amount of raw data but also requires a lot of memory and high-power consumption. As the number of sensor-based IoTs grows, bandwidth limitations make it difficult to send everything back to a cloud rapidly enough for real-time processing and decision-making, especially for delay-sensitive applications such as driverless vehicles, robotics, or industrial manufacturing.

In this context, PHASTRAC proposes to develop a novel analog-to-information neuromorphic computing paradigm based on oscillatory neural networks (ONNs). We propose a first-of-its-kind and novel analog ONN computing architecture to seamlessly interface with sensors and process their analog data without any analog-to-digital conversion. ONNs are biologically inspired neuromorphic computing architecture, where neuron oscillatory behavior will be developed by innovative phase change VO2 material coupled with synapses to be developed by bilayer Mo/HfO2 RRAM devices. PHASTRAC will address key issues:

1) novel devices for implementing ONN architecture,2) novel ONN architecture to allow analog sensor data processing, and3) processing the data efficiently to take appropriate action.

This “sensing-to-action” computing approach based on ONN technology will allow energy efficiency improvement 100x-1000x and establish a novel analog computing paradigm for improved future human-machine interactions. The PHASTRAC consortium includes some of Europe’s strongest research groups and industries, covering from device fabrication, circuit, and architecture design to end-use applications. We will demonstrate a first-of-its-kind analog-to-information computing paradigm with industrial applications such as intelligent vehicle interior design and human-robotics interactions that opens the road for EU leadership in energy efficient edge computing.

Candidate
We are seeking a highly skilled and motivated candidate to tackle the following research challenges related to Novel Devices and Architectures for Neuromorphic Computing based on Oscillatory Neural Networks:

Oscillatory neural networks are a brain-inspired computing paradigm that allow for energy efficient and adaptive intelligent systems. By mimicking the human brain and nervous system, these computing architectures are excellent candidates for solving complex and large-scale associative learning problems. The objective of this thesis is the development of device models for emulating neurons and synapses. Oscillator neurons are based on phase change insulator-metal transition devices such as vanadium dioxide VO2. Coupling synapses are based on memristor devices based on novel bilayer MO/HfO2 (where MO stands for metal oxide), also referred to as MO/HfO2 resistive random-access memories (RRAM). Experimental development of these devices will be performed by the IBM Research Zurich team, a partner in the PHASTRAC project. Based on experimental data measurements, physical device models for VO2 oscillator and MO/HfO2 coupling will be developed. The interplay between the oscillators and coupling will be investigated to analyze the impact of device nonuniformities and their impact on ONN performance, reliability and energy. ONN circuit simulations will be performed to analyze stochastic noise and harmonic injection on the oscillators. ONN architecture design and design space exploration will be performed and evaluated for various applications such as associative memory, image segmentation, and solving combinatorial problems via the Ising model formulation. This thesis will be conducted in collaboration with PHASTRAC project partners.

Job requirements

We are looking for an excellent, teamwork-oriented, and research-driven candidate with an Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Applied Physics or Engineering Physics background. Applications from computer science and AI MSc students with affinity for hardware implementation are also welcomed.

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale 27 (min. €2,541 max. €3,247).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own trainings program.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children’s day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.

Information and application

Information
Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more?Please contact Aida Todri-Sanial, a.todri.sanial[at]tue.nl and dr.ir. Sander Stuijk, email s.stuijk[at]tue.nl, http://www.es.ele.tue.nl/~sander.

For information about terms of employment, click here or contact Mrs. Linda van den Boomen, HR advisor, email  l.j.c.v.d.boomen[at]tue.nl.

Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact [Name Surname], [Job title], …[at]tue.nl or +31 40 247 ….

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Please visit www.tue.nl/jobs and www.tue.nl/en/education/graduate-school/ to find out more about working at TU/e!

Application

If you are interested in working in an exciting, dynamic, high-tech environment, where you will contribute to creating the society of the future, we invite you to submit a complete application by using the ‘apply now’ button on this page.

The application should include:

  • cover letter in which you describe your personal motivation and qualifications specifically for the position. Indicate your choice of research topics listed above.
  • curriculum vitae.
  • transcript of master and bachelor degrees.
  • copies of your final MSc thesis, including English abstracts, and (if applicable) published papers (PDF files). Submit at least one document written in English of which you are the main author.
  • results of your IELTS or TOEFL test (or equivalent).
  • and the contact information of two academic referees.

Please keep in mind you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each. If necessary, please combine files.