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Bio-inspired AI for edge computing

   School of Science

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  Dr Shirin Dora, Dr A Soltoggio  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The project offers an opportunity to develop techniques that lower the computational loads of existing Artificial Intelligence (AI) approaches thereby rendering them suitable for edge-devices (like drones, wearables). The research conducted in this project will advance the international reputation of the candidate and open up numerous industrial opportunities.

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF, 2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career. Find out more.


This exciting and highly multidisciplinary project will develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) approaches suitable for running on edge devices (like wearables, autonomous vehicles) with focus on drone applications. Deep learning has made tremendous progress but their applications are limited to situations with easier access to high performance computing. Edge devices often have limited power and memory bandwidth while requiring very fast responses. To put things in perspective, about 20 watts of power is sufficient to power all of our thinking which is closer to what a ceiling fan uses when running at low speed.

This project will use the brain as an inspiration to develop bio-inspired approaches (primarily focusing on neuromorphic computing) that are efficient in terms of energy and memory requirement while exhibiting faster response times. The neuromorphic computing approaches developed in the project will increase the flying time and lower the response times for drones thereby improving their performance for tasks like search and rescue and delivery, etc. In addition, the project offers an opportunity to deploy developed AI techniques in hardware to accelerate their adoption in the real world.

The PhD student will be supported through weekly meetings and trained on industry relevant technical skills with opportunities for attending national/international conferences. We actively encourage applicants from women, disabled and BAME communities.

Entry requirements for United Kingdom

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in computer science or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: artificial intelligence, neural networks, robotics.

Please see the programme website for international entry requirements by country.

English language requirements

Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website.

Funding Notes

Please note that studentships will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have applied to this project and other advertised projects within the School. Funding decisions will not be confirmed until early 2022. The studentship is for 3 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £15,609 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK rate. International (including EU) students may apply however the total value of the studentship will cover the International Tuition Fee Only.


Krichmar et al., Making BREAD: Biomimetic Strategies for Artificial Intelligence Now and in the Future, 2019.
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