Postdoctoral Position in Theoretical Neuroscience at CNCR, Amsterdam
Applications are invited for a 3-year postdoctoral research position in the Neuroinformatics Group of the Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The position is funded by a grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Exact Sciences (EW).

The project, which is a collaboration between CNCR and the Vision and Cognition Group of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN), will investigate a novel, biologically inspired learning algorithm called attention-gated reinforcement learning (AGREL; Roelfsema and Van Ooyen, Neural Computation 17 (2005): 2176-2214). The computational power of the new learning scheme derives from two factors known to influence synaptic plasticity: a global reward-related signal and an attentional signal that is fed back from the network’s output layer to earlier processing levels. For simple deterministic categorization tasks, we have previously shown that AGREL is both biologically plausible and as powerful as the widely used but biologically implausible error-backpropagation algorithm for training artificial neural networks. The present project will explore whether AGREL can serve as a general learning algorithm in complex input-output mappings, regression tasks, and delayed and sequential decision tasks.
Applicants should have a PhD degree, a strong background in machine learning, neural networks or computational neuroscience, excellent computer skills, and a good command of written and spoken English. A good general knowledge of neuroscience would be an advantage. For further information about this position, please contact Dr. Arjen van Ooyen (CNCR),, or Prof. Dr. Roelfsema (NIN), Application letters including a CV, research experience, a short statement of research interests, and contact details of two referees should be sent by email to Dr. Arjen van Ooyen.

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