[visionlist] 3 Ys Post-doc Position in Computer Vision at ISTC-CNR in Trento (Italy)

Roberta Ferrario roberta.ferrario at cnr.it
Thu Mar 29 07:24:08 GMT 2012

Applications are invited for one three-year Postdoctoral Research
Fellowship in the Laboratory for Applied Ontology of the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies of the CNR in Trento, as part of the Autonomous Province of Trento funded research project “VISCOSO - Detection of Crisis in Socio-Material Systems via Visual-Cognitive-Social Processes”, 
directed by dr. Roberta Ferrario (http://www.istc.cnr.it/people/roberta-ferrario). 

Title of the research: Enhancement of the performances of a computer vision system in high level tasks of processing and recognition, through the use of model-based assumptions

 Starting date: June 1, 2012

 Application deadline: April 24, 2012

 Date of the interview: May 7, 2012

 Short description of the Project: The project will concentrate on the detection of critical situations that happens in the entanglement of visual-cognitive-social processes, the process of seeing a scene, forming a belief or an expectation and engaging in an interaction. We argue that, far from being a linear process, this is rather an entanglement, in which vision influences what agents believe, their beliefs determine them to interact in a certain way and sustain their institutions, the rules they are subject to or their previous interactions may let emerge beliefs and expectations, that may influence what they see and how they see it, and so on. Moreover, in a socio-material system, both humans and technical devices participate in and enact such entanglement. Many disciplines, ranging from philosophy to cognitive sciences, artificial intelligence and sociology, have dealt with such phenomena, often focusing only on a part of the entanglement and neglecting the others. The scenario of the project is that of designed socio-material systems, intended as complex systems embedding human and artificial agents, material and institutional artifacts and resources, in which behavior and practices are partly constrained by norms. The complexity of such systems makes it very hard for them to cope with critical situations, as they emerge from the interplay between all participants and cannot be reduced to mere technical malfunctioning or to the negligence/malevolence of the human actors involved, but should be rather dealt with at a systemic level.
The challenge addressed by this project is that of enabling a wider and more comprehensive perspective by leveraging on the results of the involved disciplines, thus allowing for the implementation of socio-material systems that are aware of the criticalities that can emerge in the entanglement of visual-cognitive-social processes. An ontological model will be built that captures the insights coming from different disciplines, reached with their own specific paradigms, making use of their own concepts and methodologies. The conceptual clarification resulting from the ontological analysis will enable:
- scholars of the various disciplines involved to better understand each other, thus enhancing knowledge on their specific field by cross-fertilization of studies
- designers of socio-material systems to be more aware of the entanglement, thus preventing as much as possible critical situations and preparing a systemic
reaction to them
- agents (human and artificial) that participate in the system to better prevent, recognize, recover and learn from critical situations, and to infer new unexpected critical situations “at run time”, while the system evolves, by making it in a sense self-transparent. The expected outcome will be a theoretical artifact, but meant to be practically used within the system and co-evolving with it, and enabling the agents in the system to collectively manage critical situations thanks to an enhanced self- transparency.

Short description of the Lab and Research Environment: The Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technology of the National Research Council (ISTC-CNR) (http://www.istc.cnr.it/) is the most important research institute in Italy in the area of cognitive science, with over 60 researchers who conduct interdisciplinary research ranging from cognitive science to social science, to linguistics, to artificial intelligence and knowledge engineering. The institute is headquartered in Rome and has two branches in Padova and in Trento.
In Trento, ISTC-CNR is present with the Laboratory for Applied Ontology (ISTC-LOA), (http://www.loa.istc.cnr.it/) which was founded in January 2003. Its main activities concern the ontological foundations of knowledge engineering and conceptual data modeling, and more generally the role of semantic technologies in the representation of knowledge, access of information, integration of heterogeneous information, development of databases, natural language processing, multi-agent systems, software engineering, and information systems in the broad sense. Headed by Nicola Guarino, the LOA has a well established international leadership in this field of research, above all thanks to the strongly interdisciplinary approach: using logic as unifying instrument, the group has developed a rigorous and original methodology for ontological analysis, which rests upon fundaments from philosophy, linguistics, and cognitive science. The principal applications concern services and organizations, integrated enterprise systems, e-Government, dialogue and discourse understanding, and the Semantic Web. Current projects are, among others, ICT4Law (Next Generation Services for Citizens, Enterprises, Public Administration and Policymakers), and TOCAI.IT (Tecnologie Orientate alla Conoscenza per Aggregazioni di Imprese su InTernet –Knowledge-based technologies of enterprise integration). Among the most well-known results of the lab, the OntoClean methodology and the DOLCE foundational ontology. The LOA has currently seven researchers, and several students and visitors. The LOA’s research infrastructure is that of a well-equipped spacious office located in Povo, Trento, in a quiet area excellent for concentration during work yet with good public transport connections to the city center. Trento is more and more becoming a center of excellence for university and research, especially thanks to it recently became co-location center of EIT ICT Labs, the KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community) for ICT, initiated by the EIT (European Institute of Technology)

 Duties and responsibilities:
 The selected candidate will be involved in the phase of analysis of the literature on criticalities of artificial vision tasks (in particular in the functions of the visual device and in the transition from the output of the device to the interpretation of the scene performed by a human). Successively, he/she will have to enhance the algorithms with high level information, coming from the cognitive and sociological analyses.
The successful candidate will be expected to actively participate in the team’s research activities, maintain
an active research agenda and regularly publish in major professional journals.
The language of
instruction is English.

 Preferred Competences:  methods and techniques of socially intelligent monitoring and social signal processing, of semantic transcoding of data streams and algorithms of computer vision.

PhD by the time of submission.

 The amount per year, paid in 12 (twelve) monthly installments, is set at EUR 22,000.00 net of expenses in charge of CNR.
This does not include remuneration for travels in Italy or abroad as may be necessary to carry out the related research activities.

 How to Apply: The notice of selection (bando) is available at the following addresses:


 or, alternatively:


(click at the top, on the right “Advanced Search”, then at the bottom, on the right select “TN” from the menu “Provincia”)


For any other enquires, please contact the head of the project , dr. Roberta Ferrario (roberta.ferrario at cnr.it)


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