PhD Project Studentships in Communication in Human-Agent Collectives (ORCHID Project), University of Nottingham

Updated: about 5 years ago
Location: Nottingham, ENGLAND
Deadline: The position may have been removed or expired!

PhD Project Studentships in Communication in Human-Agent Collectives (ORCHID Project)
Closing Date
Thursday, 2nd August 2012
Job Type
Research & Teaching
School of Computer Science & School of English

The University of Nottingham is involved in an EPSRC research programme relating to human-agent collectives.   This award includes funding for a number of full-time PhD project studentships to begin in October 2012.

In collaboration with the Universities of Southampton and Oxford and a number of industrial organisations, this research aims to establish a new science that investigates the computational and human aspects of a society in which people become increasingly dependent upon a plethora of smart and proactive computers that we carry with us, access at home and at work, and that are embedded into the world around us.  It will establish the foundational underpinnings of human-agent collectives (HACs) and drive these understandings to real-world applications in critical domains.

A number of Home/EU studentships are available focusing on how human and agents communicate.

We are particularly interested in exploring the effectiveness of different styles of interaction and their role in HACs with particular reference to the use of vague language and implicit meaning.

The need for effective communication in HACs is of central importance. For example, we need to understand when and how users may give direct orders that agents must obey.  When might users express their broad desire and allow these to be re-interpreted by agents? Under what circumstances should agents instruct users what to do and when should users be able to question them?

Several tensions emerge concerning the appropriateness of using vague language in HAC contexts, illustrating the difficulty in judging how best to deliver and negotiate information and instruction.
Focusing on a range of different HAC contexts the studentship will explore the relationship between the use of language and the building of trust relationships.

Applications are invited from students with a background in English Language and Linguistics to focus on the linguistic aspects of human agent communication. ORCHID students will benefit from:

• A fully-funded three-year PhD programme within a leading-edge research institution
• Supervision from international leaders in the associated disciplines
• Office and laboratory space on Nottingham’s award-winning Jubilee Campus
• A personal laptop for use on the project.

Our industry partners include BAE Systems, PRI Ltd and the Australian Centre for Field Robotics – University of Sydney.

Students should have an excellent first or preferably postgraduate degree in a relevant subject area.  Studentships will be jointly supervised between the Schools of English (Professor Svenja Adolphs) and Computer Science (Professor Tom Rodden).

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Felicia Knowles, Mixed Reality Lab, School of Computer Science, email:

To apply, please access

  • Information for candidates ( pdf | doc )
  • Apply Online

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