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  Autonomous multi-agent systems for constrained devices in building automation domain


   School of Computer Science

  ,  Wednesday, May 01, 2024  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Building Automation (BA) systems are increasingly using distributed sources of perception, methods of actuation, and means of computation to address dynamic nature of usage requirements of building spaces. The automation system needs to evaluate the state of the environment and the capabilities afforded by the equipment, and consequently, based on the requirements needs to put in to action an appropriate control strategy. The properties of multi-agent systems (MAS), namely its nature of agents being autonomous, reactive to changes in the environment, proactive by being goal-driven, and social by being collaborative, fits well the needed paradigm to make BA systems flexible and responsive to needs. In particular, the possibility of resource constrained devices like sensors, actuators, and networked computation host to work in a collaborative manner under social organization rules to fulfil local and global goals is a topic of potential research (as compared to the established approaches where devices are not restricted by availability of energy or computational resources). Under such constraints, the goal of this research is to enable the collaboration among networked sensors in a smart way. Consequently, control agents are able to self-organize the automation system based on available resources.

The PhD will be jointly supervised by Siemens and the University of Birmingham, based at the University and with opportunities for secondment to Siemens’ data research groups in Switzerland. The applicant should hold a computer science or engineering degree and is proficient in Python/Java programming; having experience preferably in semantic modelling/ontology and distributed machine learning is a distinct advantage. First or Upper Second Class Honours undergraduate degree and/or postgraduate degree with Distinction (or an international equivalent). We also consider applicants from diverse backgrounds that have provided them with equally rich relevant experience and knowledge. The successful applicant will start their studies in September 2024. 

Computer Science (8) Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

The position offered is with a three year studentship funded as an EPSRC iCASE award in conjunction with Siemens. The current (2023-24) value of the award is stipend; £18,622 pa plus a stipend uplift of £2,500 pa; tuition fee: £4,712 pa; funding for conference attendance. Awards are usually incremented on 1 October each following year. The successful applicant needs to spend a minimum of three months working at Siemens’ data research groups in Switzerland, funded by the company.

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