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Distributed Artificial Intelligence for Collective Decisions in Smart Cities

PGR-P-744

Key facts

Type of research degree
PhD
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Project start date
Tuesday 1 October 2024
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Funding
Competition funded
Source of funding
University of Leeds
Supervisors
Professor Evangelos Pournaras
Schools
School of Computing
Research groups/institutes
Distributed Systems and Services
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Can you envision a more inclusive and direct democracy for our digital society empowered by an ethically-aligned AI and blockchain? The Distributed Systems and Services group at University of Leeds has an opening for a PhD candidate position in the lab of Distributed and Intelligent Social Computing Systems.

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

<p>As a PhD candidate in this project you are expected to develop and study decision-support systems using blockchain and distributed AI for&nbsp;multi-agent systems (reinforcement learning, distributed combinatorial optimization). You will apply these decision-support systems to mobile crowd-sensing platforms and digital voting systems&nbsp;to empower trustworthy&nbsp;collective decisions in Smart Cities.&nbsp;You will apply data science skills to data collected from citizens to understand collective crowd behavior.&nbsp;You will have a unique opportunity to apply this research in real-world by running pilots tests in the city of Aarau in Switzerland with a strong tradition on direct democracy initiatives. This project will run in collaboration with ETH Zurich and University of Fribourg in Switzerland as well as the city authorities of Aarau.</p> <p>Related projects and publications:</p> <p><a href="http://smart-agora.org">Smart Agora</a>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://epos-net.org">EPOS</a></p> <p><a href="https://evangelospournaras.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Proof-of-Witness-Presence-Blockchain-Consensus-for-Augmented-Democracy-in-Smart-Cities.pdf">Proof of Witness Presence: Blockchain Consensus for Augmented Democracy in Smart Cities</a></p> <p><a href="https://evangelospournaras.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Proof-of-Witness-Presence-Blockchain-Consensus-for-Augmented-Democracy-in-Smart-Cities.pdf">Collective Learning: A 10-Year Odyssey to Human-centered Distributed Intelligence</a></p>

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

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.leeds.ac.uk/research-applying/doc/applying-research-degrees">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the Planned course of study section that you are applying for <em><strong>PHD Computing FT,</strong></em>&nbsp;in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is <em><strong>Distributed AI for Participatory Digital Democracy</strong></em>&nbsp;as well as&nbsp;<a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/computing/staff/6446/dr-evangelos-pournaras">Dr Evangelos Pournaras</a>&nbsp;as your proposed supervisor&nbsp;and in the finance section, please state clearly&nbsp;<em><strong>the funding that you are applying for, if you are self-funding or externally sponsored</strong></em>.</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>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Applications will be considered after the closing date. &nbsp;Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervisors for an informal discussion before making a formal application. &nbsp;We also advise that you apply at the earliest opportunity as the application and selection process may close early, should we receive a sufficient number of applications or that a suitable candidate is appointed.</p> <p>Please note that you must provide the following documents in support of your application by the closing date of 3 April 2024 for Leeds Opportunity Research Scholarship or 8 April 2024 for Leeds Doctoral Scholarship:</p> <ul> <li>Full Transcripts of all degree study or if in final year of study, full transcripts to date</li> <li>Personal Statement outlining your interest in the project</li> <li>CV</li> </ul>

<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 and very good programming skills (covering data science and systems). An MSc in Computer Science or in the broader area of Computational Social Science would be desired, as well as an interest in decision and social sciences (mechanism design). Relevant industry experience is also recognised.

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

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.5 overall with at least 6.5 in writing and 6.0 in each component (reading, 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><strong>Self-Funded or externally sponsored students are welcome to apply.</strong></p> <p><strong>UK</strong>&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/209-leeds-doctoral-scholarships-2022">Leeds Doctoral Scholarships</a> and <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/234-leeds-opportunity-research-scholarship-2022">Leeds Opportunity Research Scholarship</a> are available to UK applicants (open from October 2023). <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/60-alumni-bursary">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Non-UK</strong> &ndash;The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/48-china-scholarship-council-university-of-leeds-scholarships-2021">China Scholarship Council - University of Leeds Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to nationals of China (now closed for 2024/25 entry). The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/73-leeds-marshall-scholarship">Leeds Marshall Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to support US citizens. <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/60-alumni-bursary">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Important:</strong>&nbsp; Any costs associated with your arrival at the University of Leeds to start your PhD including flights, immigration health surcharge/medical insurance and Visa costs are <strong>not</strong> covered under this studentship.</p> <p>Please refer to the <a href="https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/">UKCISA</a> website for information regarding Fee Status for Non-UK Nationals.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

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

<p>For further information about your application,&nbsp;please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email to&nbsp;<a href="mailto:phd@engineering.leeds.ac.uk">phd@engineering.leeds.ac.uk</a></p> <p>For further information about this project, please contact Dr Evangelos Pournaras by email to&nbsp;<a href="mailto:E.Pournaras@leeds.ac.uk">E.Pournaras@leeds.ac.uk</a></p>


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