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Early Stage Researcher on the EU ITN project MENTOR

Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies

Location:  Aston University Main Campus
Salary:  £36,000 to £39,500
Contract Type:  Fixed Term (36 months)
Basis:  Full Time
Closing Date:  23.59 hours BST on Monday 03 May 2021
Interview Date:  Wednesday 26 May 2021
Reference:  R210068
Release Date:  Tuesday 23 February 2021

Academic School/Department: College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies

Location: Birmingham, UK

Applications are invited by Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT) for prestigious three year postgraduate position (leading to a PhD) as Early Stage Researcher within the European Industrial Doctorate Training Network project MENTOR. The project is supported through the Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) and includes a fee bursary to fully cover the PhD tuition fees. Notably50% of the study and research period to be spent in the industrial sector with the project industrial partners in Infinera (Germany, Portugal), Orange (France), and Telecom Italy.

 Project title associated with the position: Complexity reduction and data augmentation for deep machine learning-based optical transmission systems.

 MENTOR - Machine LEarning in optical NeTwORks

The multi-national & multi-interdisciplinary MENTOR project will address the pitfalls in the application of deep machine learning-based tools to the optical communications systems: overfilling and overconfidence, high complexity of the signal processing by the deep artificial neural networks device, high complexity of the training stage, generalizability property. The project provides the doctoral training for PhD students through industry-oriented research in an area of immense practical relevance and importance. MENTOR involves leading UK and EU universities, two global operator and one of the most innovative vendors. This will lead to development of novel practically implementable “clever” disruptive techniques for fibre-optic communications

Within MENTOR, advanced training will be provided to six Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) to design the next generation of high-capacity optical networks. MENTOR aims to bring this exciting new approach into commercial application with the help of its world leading industry partner, Infinera, and two global operators, Orange and Telecom Italia, where successful applicants will spent 18 months of their appointment.

More information on the MENTOR project is available at

 PhD Project title:
Complexity reduction and data augmentation for deep machine learning-based optical transmission systems.

The successful candidate (MENTOR ESR1) will work on developing and optimising various designs of deep machine learning-based devises (autonomous agents) and systems (both physics-inspired and black-box solutions) aiming at recovering the information transmitted over the optical channel, to achieve the best performance in terms of processing quality, complexity, and device’s memory requirements. It is planned that the study will cover versatile designs of deep neural networks, ranging from multilayer perceptrons to transformers and variational autoencoders. The new system designs will be studied, first, theoretically, and, then, validated and investigated experimentally using both the facilities of the project industrial partners and AIPT own data. 

Notably50% of the study and research period to be spent in the industrial sector with the project industrial partners Infinera (Portugal, Germany), Telecom Italia (TIM), and Orange (France).

The successful candidate will join an established group working on advanced optical communication systems incorporating the machine-learning based signal processing elements under the general leadership of Prof. Sergei Turitsyn, directly working with the work-package leader Dr Yaroslav Prylepskiy, with the co-supervision of a senior industrial partner staff member (Infinera, Germany and Portugal).

 MENTOR is looking for candidates with exceptional skills and grades in engineering or physics and/or computer science, with the knowledge of machine learning and/or some expertise in the areas related to nonlinear optics and photonics, or electrical engineering.   Preferred skill requirements include experience in scientific programming and computing, communications and information theory, statistical analysis, optical communication systems and components. Knowledge of linear algebra, mathematical physics, and numerical analysis are an asset. The candidate will have a strong drive to carry out the cutting edge research for a doctoral degree. 

The ideal candidate will have a Master of Science degree (or expected to be awarded one soon) in Electrical Engineering, Physics, Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, or equivalent. In exceptional cases candidates with an outstanding Bachelor Degree in the aforementioned subjects might also be considered. 

 MSCA requirements:

The prospective candidates MUST not have resided or carried out their main activity (e.g. work, studies) for more than 12 months within the last three years in the UK (by the employment start date). Furthermore, the candidates need to be in his/her first four years of his/her research career. The four years are counted FROM the date a degree was obtained which formally entitles the holder to embark on a doctorate TO the employment start date.

 For informal enquiries about this project and other opportunities within the AIPT, contact. Prof. Sergei Turitsyn by email:


Further details:    Job Details    
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