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Individual and collective behaviour of cognitive agents


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Source of funding
University of Leeds
Dr Richard Mann
School of Mathematics
Research groups/institutes
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Animal behaviour is driven by evolutionary adaptations that maximise fitness, through goals such as food acquisition, mate selection and predator avoidance. In many species cognition plays a key role in allowing animals to perceive the world, process information and plan actions. This PhD project will develop models of cognitively-driven behaviour by agents responding to information from their physical and social environment, based on theories of rational decision-making, Bayesian inference and artificial intelligence.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>Building on developments in artificial intelligence known as active-learning, we will model how an agent takes decisions to optimise long-term goals, such as fitness maximisation, while operating in a world of uncertainty. We will also model how individual agents can learn about the world by observing the actions of others using Bayesian inference, resulting in rational behaviour within groups. The models developed in this project will be tested against data from real animals in experimental and observational studies.</p> <h5>Key Papers</h5> <p>Mann (2020) <a href="">Collective decision making by rational agents with differing preferences.</a> <em>BiorXiv</em></p> <p>Mann (2018) <a href="">Collective decision making by rational individuals.</a><em> Proceedings of the National Academy of Science</em></p> <p>Garnett <em>et al. </em>(2012) <a href="">Bayesian optimal active search and surveying.</a> <em>International Conference on Machine Learning</em></p> <p>The earliest start date for this project is 1 October 2020.</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is `Individual and collective behaviour of cognitive agents&rsquo; as well as <a href="">Dr Richard Mann</a> as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p>UK/EU/International &ndash; School of Mathematics&nbsp;Scholarship Award paying Academic Fees at Home/EU fee rate&nbsp;of &pound;4,600 in Session 2020/21 or International fee rate&nbsp;of &pound;21,750 in Session 2020/21 and Maintenance matching EPSRC rates (&pound;15,285 in Session 2020/21) per year for 3 years. Funding is awarded on a competitive basis.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information regarding the application procedure, please contact Doctoral College Admissions,<br /> e: <a href=""></a>, t: +44 (0)113 343 5057.</p> <p>For further information regarding the project, please contact&nbsp;Dr Richard Mann,<br /> e: <a href=""></a>, t: +44 (0)113 343 8988.</p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>