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EPSRC iCASE PhD Studentship on Team-Based Agent-Human Collaboration in High Pressure Information Environments


Project Description

High pressured and complex information environments like submariner sonar specialists or air traffic controllers place enormous amounts of stress on operators who need to deal with a multitude of sensor data, make sense of the information, to report and act on arising events, threats and anomalies. Often operators need to focus on the important features concerning suspicious events and targets while maintaining overall comprehensive situational awareness. A single mistake could mean the difference between life and death.

Since human cognition and concentration is limited, intelligent agents that collaborate with human operators are being developed to ensure that teams of agents and humans are working together in an optimal fashion - in order to ensure success in mission critical environments. There is a need to develop agents that are sensitive to the situation and who can minimize the overall load and burden placed upon the operators. Furthermore there is a need to develop interfaces that more efficiently communicate sensor data without overwhelming and overloading operators, and the need to develop the underlying agent technology that intelligently collaborates with operators. The overall goal of this research area is to reduce the effort and cognitive burden in assessing high dimensional real time data in high pressured complex information environments, by providing a collaborative intelligent assistant that helps to: (a) identify potential relevant events, (b) assess the importance and quality of those events, and whether they are targets or threats and (c) assists in further investigating, monitoring and coordinating the share of information and intelligence amongst the team.

This project will involve the combination of Psychology, HCI, ML to understand and explore how people interact with intelligent agents.
- Human Computer Interaction (HCI) / Human Agent Interaction (HAI) - exploring how teams interact with intelligent agents in high pressure, complex information environments
- Machine Learning (ML) / Artificial Intelligence (AI) - developing intelligent agents that need to work with teams in high pressure complex information environments

Depending on the candidate’s experience the project will focus more heavily on one aspect or the other. The candidate will join our team within the Strathclyde iSchool who work with developing and understanding intelligent agents in a variety of contexts i.e. customer service agents, conversational search agents, intelligent search agents, etc. The iSchool at Strathclyde, is one of the top iSchools in the UK, and consists of over 25 staff and researchers working on a variety of problems from machine learning, algorithm bias and explainability to information seeking, retrieval and behaviour to human computer interaction and information interaction.

Funding Notes

We are currently offering fully-funded industrial EPSRC studentship commencing January 2019. Applications are invited from UK for full-time, 4-year study on the PhD topic: Team Based Agent-Human collaboration in Mission Critical Environments. This industrially focused PhD will provide students with the opportunity to interact with researchers and developers from British Aerospace Engineering. It is expected that the candidate will work on industry inspired problems and challenges.

How good is research at University of Strathclyde in Computer Science and Informatics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 20.20

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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