Faculty: Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is establishing the world’s first professorship in Big Data Cybernetics in collaboration with KONGSBERG, combining the fields of automatic control and multivariate data modelling.

For the successful applicant, this represents a unique opportunity to play a central role in the development of a new interdisciplinary field. The position will be affiliated with the Department of Engineering Cybernetics (Institutt for teknisk kybernetikk – ITK ) at NTNU’s Faculty of Information Technology, Mathematics and Electrical Engineering.

ITK has 17 full-time professors, 11 adjunct professors, about 10 postdocs and researchers as well as 70 PhD candidates. Approximately 100 MSc candidates graduate annually from the three study programs in cybernetics, which comprise about 650 students in total. The department is involved in numerous research projects and centers, including the Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems (NTNU AMOS).

The new field Big Data Cybernetics is envisioned to combine methods from automatic control and multivariate data modelling in order to discover systematic structures in the spatial, temporal and property-profile domains, and to convert these structures into quantitative, human-interpretable information.

The main goal is to translate “big data” from a large number of sensor channels into ”smart data” represented by a combination of theory-driven and data-driven models, by combining science’s prior knowledge with nature’s unexpected patterns to identify the relevant structures and develop interpretable and useful models. The overlap between cybernetic subspace identification and chemometric partial-least-squares regression could for instance be a fruitful common ground for the desired high-dimensional, spatio-temporal modelling. The outputs from such models shall be intuitively understandable by humans, who then can use their background knowledge and creativity for further refinement and development. This means that black-box modelling, such as e.g. artificial neural networks or support vector machines, are not the focus of Big Data Cybernetics.

The applicants’ methodological basis should include theory and tools for describing scientific knowledge in terms of both first-principles mathematical models as well as unexpected cluster and subspace structures in large data sets. It is required to document solid competence in at least one of the two fields of automatic control and multivariate data modelling, and the applicant must demonstrate a strong interest in merging these two fields. Knowledge in system identification, nonlinear dynamics, feedback control and self-organization, signal processing, image analysis, visualization or machine learning is an advantage. Thus, several different scientific backgrounds are relevant for this new interdisciplinary field.

The candidate will join a research community at ITK which was rated “excellent from an international perspective” in the Norwegian Research Council’s evaluation of 53 ICT communities in Norway in 2012, as one of three ICT communities to receive such a rating in the Norwegian university and college sector.

The position is announced here, with application deadline on Friday September 30.

About NTNU, Trondheim and Norway: