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Brain-inspired computers: from neuron spike dynamics to spike computing

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, February 14, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Application details:
Reference number: SS/PH/2020
Start date of studentship: 1 October 2020
Closing date of advert: 14 February 2020

Primary supervisor: Prof. Sergey Saveliev
Secondary supervisor: Prof. Eran Edirisinghe
The PhD student will participate in a £1M project (EP/S032843/1) collaborating with two Research Associates, another PhD student, academics from Physics, Computer Science, and Chemistry Departments, the University of Massachusetts, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Texas A&M University, and ARM Ltd. The main element of an artificial neuron is a memristor the resistance of which changes depending on flowed charge. Neuromorphic circuits with a memristor can generate electrical spikes similar to a biological neuron. The project will involve simulations of circuits with memristors that demonstrate regular and chaotic spike dynamics. The project results will contribute to the development of neuromorphic hardware for mobile/autonomous devices, brain implants and future electronics, opening outstanding job perspectives in academia and IT/AI companies.
Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you will 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.
Loughborough University has a flexible working and maternity/parental leave policy ( and is a Stonewall Diversity Champion providing a supportive and inclusive environment for the LGBT+ community. The University is also a member of the Race Equality Charter which aims to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students. The School of Science is a recipient of the Athena SWAN bronze award for gender equality.
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The project offers an opportunity to work with the academics from different disciplines and to contribute to a variety of research seminars.
Full Project Details:
Neuromorphic circuits with memristors are often called artificial neurons since they generate current pulses when voltage is applied. This effect, which is very similar to the generation of spikes by biological neurons in our brain, led to an idea to use more complicated circuits as an artificial brain or neuromorphic computing. To realise this ambitious goal, we need to study how to control different features of the pulses, for example pulse frequency and pulse current height, and at what conditions pulses are regular or chaotic. Answering these questions for artificial neurons will be the main topic of this PhD project. The project involves developing computer code to simulate memristive devices be based on a set of stochastic differential (Langevin) equations (see e.g. [1]), analysing experimental data, and working with biologists (Salk) [2] to understand how to mimic spike dynamics of the biological brain.
1. Z. Wang, S. Joshi, S. Savel'ev et al., Nature Materials 16, 101 (2017).
2. A.S. Pawar, S. Gepshtein, S. Savel’ev, T.D. Albright, Neuron 101, 514 (2019).
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Entry requirements:
Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Physics on Mathematics.

Funding information:
This studentship will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have applied to this project and/or any of the advertised projects prioritised for funding by the School of Science.
The 3-year studentship provides a tax-free stipend of £15,009 (2019 rate) per annum (in line with the standard research council rates) for the duration of the studentship, plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. This studentship is only available to those who are eligible to pay UK/EU fees.
Contact details:
Name: Professor Sergey Saveliev
Email address:
Telephone number: +44 (0)1509 223302

How to apply:

Applications should be made online at Under programme name, select Physics.

Please quote reference number: SS/PH/2020.

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