PhD Studentship in Social and Affective Ubiquitous Computing at TU Delft, The Netherlands

PhD Studentship in Social and Affective Ubiquitous Computing at TU Delft, The Netherlands

Posted by Rebecca Martin on Wed, 11/12/2013 - 13:30

The Position:
We are offering a 4 year PhD studentship on social and affective signal processing for Ubiquitous Computing. The aim of the project is to devise novel methods of automatically measuring the mood of large, dense crowds of people in a social setting using wearable sensing devices. The challenge of developing such methods is that dense crowds are difficult to monitor because of significant background noise and faulty wireless communication due to physical density. As a result many sensor modalities fail.

This project will focus on the use of a worn accelerometer as a means of estimating someones activity and social behaviour in a privacy-preserving manner. The addition of other sensors such as proximity, audio or video modalities may also be considered. The project will involve an investigation of the problem domain of estimating socially relevant behaviour and affective responses at an individual, group, and crowd level. Findings from social and behavioural psychology will be used to inspire novel methods for solving this problem.

The position is jointly funded by the Technical University of Delft (via the Delft Technology Fellowship) and the VU University of Amsterdam (via the COMMIT/EWiDS project, see It will involve regular contact and collaboration with the distributed systems group at the VU University of Amsterdam (Prof. Maarten van Steen), and we expect the student to be effectively co-located in Delft and Amsterdam.

Applicant Profile:
We are looking students who have recently completed or expect very soon an MSc or equivalent degree in computer science, electrical/electronic engineering, applied mathematics, applied physics, or a related discipline. Experience in some or all of the following or related fields are preferred: signal processing, image processing, computer vision, embedded sensing, machine learning, and pattern recognition. An affinity with behavioural and social psychology is a bonus.

The successful applicant will have:
- good programming skills;
- curiosity and analytical skills;
- the ability to work in a multi-disciplinary team;
- motivation to meet deadlines;
- an affinity with the relevant social science research;
- good oral and written communication skills;
- an interest in communicating their research results to a wider audience;
- proficiency in English;

The successful candidate will be embedded within the Intelligent Systems Department at the Technical University of Delft. The department works on the development of artificially intelligent systems that can sense, perceive, learn, reason, elicit and adapt observations about the world. The department has over 30 staff and more than 80 postdocs and PhD students and obtained a near perfect score for its research in the last national evaluations.
The Pattern Recognition and BioInformatics Group is one of five groups in the department, consisting of 7 faculty and over 20 postdoc and PhD students. Within this group, research is carried out in three core subjects; pattern recognition, computer vision, and bioinformatics. One of the main focuses of the group is on developing tools and theories, and gaining knowledge and understanding applicable to a broad range of general problems but typically involving sensory data, e.g. times signals, images, video streams, or other physical measurement data.

Conditions of Employment:
TU Delft offers an attractive benefits package, including a flexible work week, free high-speed Internet access from home (with a contract of two years or longer), and the option of assembling a customised compensation and benefits package (the 'IKA'). Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. A Doctoral Education Programme is also provided, aimed at developing transferable, discipline-related, research skills. Please visit for more information.

Further Information:
For further information about the position, please contact Dr. Hayley Hung (h.hung(at)

Application Procedure:
Interested applicants should send an up-to-date curriculum vitae, letter of application, and the names and the contact information (telephone number and email address) of two references to Dr Hayley Hung with the subject heading '[MACRO PhD]'.

The letter of application should summarise (i) why the applicant wants to do a PhD, (ii) why the project is of interest to the applicant, (iii) evidence of suitability for the job, and (iv) what the applicant hopes to gain from the position.

The application procedure is `ongoing until the position is filled so interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible and before January 5 2014. Note that candidates who apply after this deadline may still be considered but applications before the deadline will be given priority.