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Approximate Bayesian methods for large scale imaging problems (EPS2020/41)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, February 28, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This project consists of investigating new approximate Bayesian methods for fast and robust estimation in high dimensional problem. The methods to be developed will be applied to imaging and sensing problems in low-illumination settings.

Within Heriot-Watt University, the computational imaging and optics research groups are working together to push the frontiers of single-photon imaging. In particular, single-photon technology offers important advantages in the field of light detection and ranging (Lidar) 3D imaging and biomedical imaging (e.g., fluorescence microscopy). The high sensitivity and high timing resolution of state-of-the-art single-photon detectors enable the quantification of extremely low illumination levels and ultrafast imaging capabilities (millions of frames per second). However, the main current bottleneck is the lack of efficient and robust methods able to handle the resulting large data volumes and provide reliable measures of uncertainty about the information extracted. Such measures are particularly crucial for subsequent post-processing and automated decision-making.

Statistical methods are preferred tools for uncertainty quantification as they allow data to be combined with additional information potentially available within a formalised, yet flexible, mathematical framework. While Markov chain Monte Carlo methods are traditional used to derive uncertainty measures, such methods generally perform poorly (slow convergence, high computational cost…) in high dimensional settings such as imaging problems. Thus, the aim of this project is to propose new approximate methods leveraging scalable optimization and machine/deep learning engines for robust estimation in high-dimensional and dynamic problems.


All applicants must have or expect to have a 1st class MChem, MPhys, MSci, MEng or equivalent degree by Autumn 2020. Selection will be based on academic excellence and research potential, and all short-listed applicants will be interviewed (in person or by Skype). Our scholarships are usually only open to UK/EU applicants who meet residency requirements set out by EPSRC, however some scholarships are available for exceptional overseas candidates.

Closing Date

All applications must be received by 28th February 2020. All successful candidates should usually expect to start in September/October 2020.

How to Apply

Apply Online -

When applying through the Heriot-Watt on-line system please ensure you provide the following information:
(a) in ‘Study Option’
You will need to select ‘Edinburgh’ and ‘Postgraduate Research’. ‘Programme’ presents you with a drop-down menu. Choose Electrical Engineering PhD and select September 2020 for study option (this can be updated at a later date if required)
(b) in ‘Research Project Information’
You will be provided with a free text box for details of your research project. Enter Title and Reference number of the project for which you are applying and also enter the supervisor’s name.

This information will greatly assist us in tracking your application.

Please note that once you have submitted your application, it will not be considered until you have uploaded your CV and transcripts.

Funding Notes

The annual stipend will be £15k per year and full fees will be paid for 3 years.

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