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Job ID: 134876

Postdoctoral Scholar in Interdisciplinary Computation
Harvey Mudd College

Date Posted Dec. 12, 2019
Title Postdoctoral Scholar in Interdisciplinary Computation
University Harvey Mudd College
Claremont, CA, United States
Department Engineering
Application Deadline Mar. 31, 2020
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Post-Doc
  • Environmental Sciences/Ecology/Forestry
    Computer/Information Sciences
    Biology - Microbiology
    Biology - General
    Sciences - General

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 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 (, 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 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 to answer any questions. For more information on topics of interest and ongoing research projects, see the student-authored lab blog.

  • Harvey Mudd College is committed to equal opportunity in education and employment and prohibits discrimination against persons on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ethnic origin, ancestry, citizenship, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity and expression), marital status, age, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic characteristics, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law in admission to, participation in, or receipt of the services and benefits under any of its programs and activities or in employment or the application for employment. Harvey Mudd College also prohibits discrimination based on the perception that anyone has any of these protected characteristics, or that anyone is associated with a person who has, or is perceived as having, any of these protected characteristics. For information on the College’s equal opportunity and affirmative action program and complaint/resolution procedures, please contact the Office of Human Resources or the Division of Students Affairs.

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Contact Information

  • Chris Clark
    Harvey Mudd College
    301 Platt Boulevard
    Claremont, CA 91711


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