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Cluster of Excellence Science of Intelligence 

Reference number: SCIoI-C5-52B

starting at 01/06/23; limited for 2 years and 6 months;  applications deadline 24/11/22; salary grade E 13 TV-L

The Humboldt University invites applications for a Postdoc position for the Cluster of Excellence “Science of Intelligence”. What are the principles of intelligence, shared by all forms of intelligence, no matter whether artificial or biological, whether robot, computer program, human, or animal? And how can we apply these principles to create intelligent technology? Answering these questions - in an ethically responsible way - is the central scientific objective of the new Cluster of Excellence Science of Intelligence (, where researchers from a large number of analytic and synthetic disciplines - artificial intelligence, machine learning, control, robotics, computer vision, behavioral biology, psychology, educational science, neuroscience, and philosophy - join forces to create a multi-disciplinary research program across universities and research institutes in Berlin. Interdisciplinary research projects have been defined (, which combine analytic and synthetic research and which address key aspects of individual, social, and collective intelligence.


Excellence Cluster Science of Intelligence (SCIoI)

Reference number: SCIoI-C5-52B (starting from 01/06/23 / for 30 months (2 years and 6 month) / closing date for applications 24/11/22)


Working field

Project: Evolution of collective cognition in response to novel selection pressures – how individual-level adaptations shape group-level outcomes

Postdoctoral project: Evolution of collective cognition through individual-level selection in agent-based models and artificial swarms.


The postdoctoral researcher will develop and implement agent-based models for collective behavior of fish. The stochastic movement and social interaction model shall be combined with a reinforcement learning model. The agent-based model will be used to perform systematic simulations to investigate the individual and collective level consequences of adaptation due to specific selection pressures under the assumption of specific correlations between behavioral phenotypes (e.g. exploration behavior) and learning parameters. In close collaboration with the experimental project partners, experimental data will be used to calibrate the model and to develop novel testable hypotheses. Eventually, the insights into mechanisms and principles of selection-induced adaptation of collective intelligence shall be used to demonstrate as a proof-of-concept robust collective adaptation of an artificial swarm of mobile Thymio II robots to a rapidly changing environment. .


The theoretical/modeling work will happen in close collaboration with experimental partners.


Responsibilities include scientific research within the project and academic services in the Cluster. The postdoc positions requires participation in research colloquia, lecture series and workshops, as well as an active engagement in the Cluster's research activities and close collaboration with a second theoretical postdoc hired in the same project.



Applicants must have a doctoral degree in computer science, theoretical physics, theoretical or computational biology, engineering or a related field and should have proven background in:

·       Modeling of multi-agent systems; Experience with modeling collective behavior and or reinforcement learning is beneficial

·        Applied mathematics

·       Publishing experience in international peer-reviewed journals

·       Strong Programming skills (e.g. Python, C/C++, Julia or similar)

·       Interdisciplinary collaboration with behavioral sciences (biology,neuroscience, psychology, etc) and/or working with experimental data from behavioral sciences is a strong asset.

·       Fluency in English for oral and written communication is required.

·       Team orientation as well as independence in scholarship


Previous experience with working in collaborative research activities including multidisciplinary teams is a plus, and a strong interest in interdisciplinary research at the interface of biology, physics, and computer science is expected.


Application procedure:

Candidates should upload their application preferably via the portal in order to receive full consideration.


Applications (in one combined PDF) should include: a max. 1 page cover letter, a max. 2 page motivation letter, curriculum vitae, list of publications and one selected manuscript, copies of degree certificates (PhD), two names of qualified persons who are willing to provide references, and any documents candidates feel may help us assess their competence.


Please go here for the legally binding German version of this job advertisement.