Postdoctoral Scholar in Interdisciplinary Computation
Harvey Mudd College invites applications for postdoctoral scholars in the areas of (1) multi-robot planning and control, (2) microbial genome evolution, (3) air quality and climate change, and (4) collective behavior in social insects (see more detail on research areas below). The goal of the program is to train future college faculty who combine an interdisciplinary research program with skills in computing and a passion for teaching.
Each three-year postdoctoral position will come with a salary of $75K/year and will combine training in computer science, development of an interdisciplinary computational research program, and mentoring in teaching.
- Year 1: The post-doctoral scholar will audit two CS courses per semester, and collaborate with their HMC faculty advisor on research.
- Year 2: The post-doctoral scholar will contribute to teaching in two computational courses, one taught by their advisor and one by a CS faculty member (CS teaching supervisor), while continuing to do research with their advisor.
- Year 3: Postdocs will contribute teaching computational courses as well as continuing their research. Third year teaching opportunities may include teaching their own computational courses, serving as instructional staff in existing courses, or helping design and teach new courses.
We’re looking for applicants in the following four areas:
1. Multi-Robot Planning and Control
Within HMC’s Lab for Autonomous and Intelligent Robotics, students and faculty are investigating new planning and control techniques motivated by autonomous underwater robot systems. The lab is currently focussed on three key projects: intelligent shipwreck search via AUVs, autonomous tracking and following of shark aggregations, and underwater micro-robot systems. Interested applicants should have conducted their Ph.D. research in on or more of the following areas: multi-robot control, distributed state estimation, multi-robot task or motion planning, underwater robot systems, and micro-robotics. The scholar will collaborate with LAIR director, Dr. Christopher Clark, who can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org to answer any questions.
2. Microbial genome evolution
The computational evolution lab at Harvey Mudd develops tools to reconstruct the evolutionary history of genomes in bacteria and archaea. Recent projects have focused on inferring horizontal transfer events in clades of closely related species. The lab is interested in applying these tools (and extending them as appropriate) in diverse groups of microbes. Interested applicants should have conducted their PhD research in some area of microbiology and have a strong desire to improve their computational/programming skills. The scholar will collaborate Dr. Eliot Bush (email@example.com), who can be contacted with questions.
3. Air quality and climate change
The Climate, Environment, and Air Research lab (C-CLEAR lab) at Harvey Mudd aims to address the general question, “How does air pollution affect climate and anthropogenic climate change?” Active research projects include local measurements of aerosol chemical and physical properties, laboratory simulations of cloud phase reactions, and intelligent air quality sampling in collaboration with LAIR (above). Interested applicants should have conducted their Ph.D. research in on or more of the following areas: measurements or modeling of aerosol chemical or optical properties, regional or global air quality modeling, or air pollution source apportionment. Familiarity with aerosol mass spectrometry is welcomed but not required. The scholar will collaborate with Dr. Lelia Hawkins, who can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org to answer any questions.
4. Collective behavior in social insects
The Harvey Mudd College Bee Lab studies the behavior of social insects, particularly bees and ants, to understand how these relatively simple creatures work together to gather, process and use information about a complex, heterogeneous environment. For example, honey bee colonies search a large area to determine the location and quality of floral resources, and allocate foragers among them in a way that makes food collection both efficient and flexible. Turtle ant colonies divide a limited number of defensive soldiers among multiple different nests, which may vary in defensibility, quality, and accessibility from other nests. Computational projects could involve the development of computational simulations of colony behavior, or software for image and/or video processing. Interested applicants should have completed their Ph.D. in biology or a related field, and have some background in complex systems, computational simulation, and/or computer vision. Knowledge of social insects is desirable but not required. The scholar will collaborate with HMC Bee Lab director, Dr. Matina Donaldson-Matasci, who can be reached via email at email@example.com to answer any questions. For more information on topics of interest and ongoing research projects, see the student-authored lab blog.
How to Apply
Applications are being accepted for positions beginning in Fall 2020. The successful candidate will have a Ph.D. by the time of appointment, research interests which align with one of the target areas, and a demonstrated commitment to teaching undergraduates. Harvey Mudd College is committed to broadening participation in STEM fields. Therefore, a demonstrated interest in teaching, mentoring, and supporting students from historically underrepresented groups in STEM is among the criteria for appointment.
Interested candidates should submit their application materials via the academic jobs online portal. Application materials include:
- Cover Letter – To further assist the search committee in its screening process, all cover letters should address your interest in the liberal arts and Harvey Mudd College in particular, and how you envision your research and teaching interests can contribute to the department and College.
- Curriculum Vitae
- Research Statement – A statement about your research program and how it would interface with the research program of the designated mentor, including potential research projects for undergraduates (typically 2–3 pages).
- Teaching Statement – A statement about your teaching philosophy: describe principles, practices, or experiences that inform the way you teach or would like to teach (typically 1-2 pages).
- Inclusive Excellence Statement – A statement about inclusive teaching and scholarship: describe your interests, experiences, and future plans for promoting diversity and inclusion within your teaching and research (typically 1–2 pages).
- References – Names and contact information for at least three potential recommenders.
Applications will be accepted and evaluated on a rolling basis, with the first evaluation period starting January 1, 2020.