Cognitive Science/Autonomy Research Scientist

Penn State University

University Park Campus
Date Announced:
Date Closing:
Job Number:
Work Unit:
Applied Research Laboratory
Communications, Information, and Navigation Office


The Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) at The Pennsylvania State University is seeking a Senior Autonomy/Cognitive Research Scientist for our State College, PA location. You will develop and support cross-laboratory initiatives to create cognitive systems that enable humans and machines to perform better than either humans or machines. These systems will create new partnerships between people and machines to augment and scale human expertise in areas of ARL competencies, including unmanned vehicles, sensing and cueing systems, and automated analytics. You will perform foundational and applied research in a wide range of topics, such as: Analysis and extraction of knowledge from large volumes of structured and unstructured data (e.g., data from sensing the environment of the system); machine learning; probabilistic reasoning; logic and rule-based systems; human-machine interaction; building and validation of cognitive systems; robotics; wearable computing; cognitive science; etc. ARL is particularly interested in candidates with the technical skills needed to enable complex cognitive tasks in natural language understanding, dialog, and decision making. More generally, you will conduct research in the field of autonomous intelligent unmanned systems and intelligent agent decision aids and envision and develop innovative solutions that advance the state of the art for autonomy, perception, cognition, and human/machine system collaboration. Responsibilities include: Technical leadership of and support to sponsored research programs and new sponsor development efforts/new business generation across the laboratory; promotion of a thriving research and development environment for the autonomy technology staff that fosters creativity and collaboration and facilitates recruitment and retention of other outstanding technical contributors; participation in technical, academic, and standards communities relevant to autonomy, robotics, and unmanned autonomous systems; and collaboration with other technical leads across ARL and the University to support program capture efforts. Other responsibilities include: Advising students; presenting papers; leading symposia and chairing committees; participating in technical advisory/review committees, journals, and societies; serving as peer reviewer of major technical programs; networking nationally throughout the scientific community; and preparation and delivery of written and/or verbal presentations or proposals on complex issues to a broad variety of audiences. Faculty rank will be commensurate with education level and experience. Minimum educational requirements include a PhD in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Applied Mathematics, or a realted field. Candidates with strong publication records in cognitive computing are encouraged to apply. Experience working independently with the latest tools and frameworks in cognitive software environments is highly desired. The following technical background is preferred: Hands-on experience with one or more of the mature cognitive technologies, such as MOAA, CARACaS, Soar, ACT-R, ROS, PIC, or other autonomy architectures; hands-on experience in software development; hands-on experience with relevant standards, such as DoDAF, JAUS, UCS, or DDS; and national recognition as an expert in this field and as an established member of the cognitive/autonomy community, including recognition within the Office of Naval Research, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Defense Advanced Projects Agency, or other federal agency funding fundamental research. Required technical and professional expertise areas include: Expert skill level in general programming in one or more relevant computer languages (e.g., Java, Javascript, Python, C++, Node.js, LISP, etc.); strong experience in software engineering practices, including agile processes; advanced skill level with machine learning environments (e.g., R, scikit-learn, Theano, Torch, etc.); advanced skill level in data mining/automated knowledge acquisition, representation, and reasoning; and advanced skill level in characterization and validation of cognitive systems via user studies. At least five years of experience with research and development in some aspect of unmanned systems autonomy, perception, or cognition is also required. You should have a demonstrated record of success as a Principal Investigator on multiple research programs and experience as a research supervisor. You will be expected to conduct world-class research on new cognitive computing techniques and publish in top-tier conferences and journals; therefore, strong oral and written communication skills, and the ability to collaborate both within ARL and across the University, are essential. Applicants will be subject to a government security investigation. U.S. citizenship is required. Employment with the Applied Research Laboratory will require successful completion of a pre-employment drug screen.

How To Apply On This Position

Review of candidates will begin immediately and will continue until a qualified applicant is hired. The ARL is being assisted by Filimon Partners, LLC for this search. A cover letter, including statement of interest and CV/resume, should be submitted electronically in confidence to: Elaine Filimon: Filimon Partners, LLC, 2852 Fort Scott Drive, Arlington, VA. 22202; Email: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION about the ARL, visit our web site at The Pennsylvania State University/Applied Research Laboratory offers an exceptional benefits package, including a 75% tuition discount for employees, their spouse or domestic partner, and eligible dependents.

These salary bands have been established to provide salary guidelines for staff positions.

Salary Band Minimum Midpoint Maximum
A $16,584 $24,456 $32,328
B $18,240 $26,904 $35,556
C $19,728 $29,592 $39,456
D $21,708 $32,568 $43,416
E $24,312 $36,468 $48,612
F $27,228 $40,848 $54,456
G $30,012 $45,744 $61,500
H $34,188 $52,140 $70,080
I $38,988 $59,424 $79,908
J $43,716 $67,740 $91,812
K $50,712 $78,600 $106,488
L $58,836 $91,176 $123,528
M $68,232 $105,756 $143,292
N $80,508 $124,788 $169,068
O $93,492 $147,252 $201,024
P $110,340 $173,760 $237,192
Q $126,396 $199,056 $271,728
R $151,668 $238,872 $326,088