PhD in Near-Sensor Artificial Intelligence for Distributed Systems

Job description


​imec is the world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, and energy.

As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together close to 3,500 brilliant minds from over 70 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and also has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan. All of these particular traits make imec to be a top-class employer.

University of Antwerp – imec IDLab Research group

The Internet & Data Lab (IDLab) is an imec research group at the University of Antwerp and Ghent University. IDLab focuses its research on internet technologies and data science. IDLab is a joint research initiative between Ghent University and the University of Antwerp. Bringing together 300 internet experts, we develop technologies outperforming current solutions for communication subsystems, high speed and low power networking, distributed computing and multimedia processing, machine learning, artificial intelligence and web semantics. Within Antwerp, where you will work, the overall IDLab research areas are machine learning and wireless networking. IDLab has a unique research infrastructure used in numerous national and international collaborations.

IDLab collaborates with many universities and research centers worldwide and jointly develops advanced technologies with industry (R&D centers from international companies, Flanders’ top innovating large companies and SMEs, as well as numerous ambitious startups).

For further development of the IDLab AI Systems team in the machine learning cluster, we are looking for a PhD candidate in Near-Sensor Artificial Intelligence for resource-constrained, distributed IoT and remote-sensing applications.

The AI Systems team advances machine learning algorithms for the next-generation of sustainable and neuromorphic compute devices. The team’s research areas include very low-power deep neural network frameworks (e.g., TinyML), sensor fusion, spiking neural networks and event-based computing, and hyperdimensional computing. Our goal is AI ubiquity through novel bio-inspired mechanisms that arise surprising intelligent functionality out of imperceptible devices. The team applies its AI solutions in domains such as autonomous vehicles, shipping and aerospace, industry 4.0, beyond-5G wireless, smart cities, and multimedia, and collaborates with influential industry partners in these domains.

The job

  • You will work actively on the preparation and defence of a PhD thesis on near-sensor neural networks with on-device adaptation and learning capabilities for distributed systems as part of a Horizon Europe project, OpenSwarm (Orchestration and Programming ENergy-aware and collaborative Swarms With AI-powered Reliable Methods).
  • Your research methodologies will include analysing, designing, and applying novel machine learning algorithms. You will consider the accuracy, performance, and hardware resource footprint of your algorithms to optimize them for ultra-low power devices. You will validate your research through experimental benchmarking of your algorithms in simulations, on hardware (microcontrollers, AI accelerators, and/or neuromorphic devices) as well as directly on industrial use cases.
  • You will tightly collaborate with Prof. Jeroen Famaey, Prof. Maarten Weyn, and IDLab colleagues working on advanced research in resource-efficient IoT, distributed systems, and ultra-low power AI.
  • You will publish and present results both at international conferences and in scientific journals.
  • You will contribute to national and international research projects in collaboration with key players in industry.
  • You will interface and collaborate on a technical level with research partners and will deploy your models in industrially relevant environments.

Job requirements

  • You have (or will receive within a few months) a Masters of Science degree, preferably in Computer Science, (Applied) Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, or related fields.
  • You are fluent in Python, machine learning and deep-learning tools.
  • You are comfortable in modelling complex applications using data driven and ML perspective in mind.
  • Knowledge of Spiking Neural Networks and Distributed AI is a plus.
  • Programming experience in C++ is a plus.
  • Having published in high-ranking conferences and journals in the field is an advantage.
  • You know how to prioritize and can deliver in time.
  • You are well-organized and able to autonomously plan and execute tasks.
  • You are a team player and have strong communication skills.
  • Your English is fluent, both speaking and writing.
  • You act with attention to quality, integrity, creativity, and cooperation.

More information about the PhD topic: Philippe Reiter - 

HR-Related Questions: Michelle Nietvelt –