Joint PhD Position at La Trobe University, Australia & BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus: Apply by Oct 10: Expired

Applications are invited for a joint PhD position at La Trobe University and BITS Pilani which is available under the Asian Smart Cities Research and Innovation Network (ASCRIN).

Project Title

Building Multi-source knowledge base for AI-driven public health explainable chatbots

No. of Posts

One PhD position is currently available with scholarship funding for students enrolled in a Joint PhD program at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, and La Trobe University.

Project Team

  • LA TROBE PRINCIPAL SUPERVISOR: Dr Kok-Leong Ong, Centre for Data Analytics and Cognition, La Trobe University
  • BITS PILANI PRINCIPAL SUPERVISOR: Dr Manik Gupta, Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, BITS Pilani Hyderabad Campus

About the Position

Candidate will be based at BITS Pilani throughout his/her candidature and will have the opportunity to visit La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia for typically one year during the research project.

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A common problem in public health is to answer health related questions at scale. One solution is to use ML/AI to learn the questions and answers so a machine can provide this service 24×7 to a large number of people.

The need for a PhD to look at this problem can be explained by an example. Consider a health forum on feeding infants. One could post a question about when to introduce solids and many forum participants will provide answers, some of which are based on medical advice and others based on myths or outdated practices.

If a machine was to learn from this data source, there is a chance that the answer provided is not medically sound. Thus, learning the question from one source and selecting a suitable answer from a restricted data source (e.g., curated by medical experts) is what health applications require.

These multi-source knowledge bases can be employed to improve chatbots in a range of public health scenarios. Further, the project will also research additional improvements so that these chatbots can provide quality explanation-based recommendations that can influence behavioural change.

With current techniques lacking the above capabilities, existing chatbots proved to have limited health applications. Hence, this PhD will research new algorithms to overcome the above issues with the research outcomes expected to have immediate impact, as both Supervisors Dr. Ong and Dr. Gupta have current research that requires such solutions to be deployed in the real-world and to be tested by a large number of users.

Essential Qualifications

  • M.E./M.Tech. in Computer Science (CS)/Data Science/Artificial Intelligence (AI) or relevant equivalent degree with 70% marks or CGPA 7.0 for BITS Pilani and Requirements from La Trobe University (https://www.latrobe.edu.au/study/apply/research/doctor). First class in B.E/B.Tech in CS or allied disciplines and First class or equivalent in M.E/M.Tech. with GATE Qualification.
  • Prior experience in Natural Language Processing (NLP) related projects
  • Knowledge of Machine learning concepts

Desirable Qualifications

  • Sound fundamentals in Maths and Statistics
  • Knowledge of Data Science and related fields
  • Strong Programming experience
  • Publications is an added advantage

Benefits of Scholarship

For candidates enrolled in a Joint PhD between La Trobe University and BITS Pilani:

  • BITS Pilani PhD fellowship: INR 31,000 – 33,000 pm.
  • A stipend of AUD $28,597 p.a. (2021 rate) for up to one year during residency at a La Trobe University campus.
  • A La Trobe University Full-Fee Research Scholarship, covering tuition fee relief for up to four years at La Trobe University.
  • Return economy airfare between Delhi and Melbourne.

How to Submit?

Email the completed EOI form as a single PDF with all attachments to manik@hyderabad.bits-pilani.ac.in. The subject of the email must be: ASCRIN: PhD EOI to be considered. The last date of application is 10th October 2021 @ 5:00 pm.

Please note that only qualified and suitable candidates will be called for the online interview. If you are selected through the interview process then you will be required to register for the Ph.D. programme of BITS Pilani, subject to the fulfillment of the requirements of the BITS Pilani and LA Trobe University.

Important Dates

  • Last date for application: 10th October 2021
  • Date of online interview: To be Announced.

Click here to view the official notification for the Joint PhD Positions at La Trobe University, Australia & BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus.

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