Postdoctoral Fellow and Masters/Ph.D. Position in Human Computer/Robot Interaction
David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, ON, Canada

Overview: We are pleased to announce Postdoctoral Fellow and Masters/Ph.D. positions in HCI/HRI at University of Waterloo, within the teachable robot project. This project will provide fellows/students the opportunity to work within an interdisciplinary team and incorporate research methodologies from computer science and psychology. The goal of the project is to design and develop a conversational agent/robot that acts as a less knowledgeable peer to be taught by elementary school, high school or college students. We are particularly interested in the role that curiosity plays as the mechanism by which learning takes place, the degree to which learning transfers to other contexts (e.g., different topic; human peers), whether similar learning processes exist in social domains (e.g., curiosity about other people’s perspectives), and whether there are individual differences that impact children’s learning and behaviour. At the same time, the teachable robot framework will serve as an experimentation platform for studying technology-mediated peer learning.

Successful candidates will be jointly supervised by Prof. Edith Law (HCI Lab, Computer Science, http://edithlaw.ca) and Prof. Elizabeth Nilsen (Cognitive Development Lab, Psychology, https://uwaterloo.ca/cognitive-development-lab/). The team has access to a world-class robotics research, testing, and training facility, the RoboHub (https://uwaterloo.ca/robohub/), which provides robots and instrumented spaces for piloting. The exact start date for the positions is negotiable; it can be as soon as September 2019 and no later than January 2020.

Postdoc position: Qualified candidates should have a background in human-computer interaction (in particular, educational technology or conversational agents) or human-robot interaction. The research will involve a mix of engineering (i.e., developing agent/robot behaviour and web-based applications to support the interaction between users and agents), design, and experimentation (including participatory design studies, laboratory and in-school experiments, surveys, observations and semi-structured interviews, etc). Experience working with children in a research context is a plus. This position, as lead of the teachable robot project, has a flexible timeline with preference for a 2-year commitment. A competitive salary will be provided.

Graduate position: Candidates for the Masters/Ph.D. position should have a background in computer science, cognitive psychology or learning sciences. Preferred qualifications include excellent academic record, strong organizational skills, experience with user interface design and web-based programming.

How to apply: All interested applicants should contact Edith Law directly at edith.law@uwaterloo.ca to signal their desire to apply or seek additional information. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the positions are filled.

The David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, which is about an hour from Toronto. As part of the Faculty of Mathematics, the school comprises more than 80 faculty members, over 300 graduate students, approximately 2900 undergraduates, and 46 staff members. It has been consistently ranked among the top computer science programs worldwide.