A postdoctoral position is available within the Department of Cognitive Sciences at the University of California, Irvine to develop new probabilistic models for the aggregation of human forecasts. Forecasts will involve probability estimates (“what is the probability that event X will happen in 2012?”) and magnitude estimates (“how large will X be in 2012?”). The goal of these models is to produce aggregated judgments that come closer to the truth than most or all of the individual judgments. This effect is also known as a “Wisdom of Crowds” effect. An important part of the research will be to develop cognitive models that can explain human probability and magnitude judgments.
The project is part of IARPA’s Aggregative Contingent Estimation (ACE) Program. The goal of the ACE program is to develop and test tools to provide accurate, timely, and continuous probabilistic forecasts and early warning of global events by aggregating the judgments of many widely-dispersed analysts.
The applicant will work in the Memory and Decision-Making Laboratory (“Madlab”) at the University of California, Irvine, and will interact with Professors Mark Steyvers, Michael Lee and Bill Batchelder. In addition, there is the possibility of interacting with colleagues at seven other universities who are part of the project (e.g., Tom Wallsten, University of Maryland; David Budescu, Fordham University; Ed Merkle, University of Missouri).
Requirements: The applicant must have a Ph.D. degree in Cognitive Sciences, Computer Science, Statistics, Decision Sciences, Engineering, or related field and have expertise in computational modeling using probabilistic approaches. The applicant must have excellent computer skills in Matlab programming and some experience with Graphical models or Bayesian networks, and Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) techniques. Experience with WinBUGS is preferable but not required. The applicant is expected to play to a key role in the development of journal and conference publications.
Salary is commensurate with experience. The appointment, contingent available on grant funding, can start as early as 7/7/2011, but we will consider candidates who can start at a later date.
Application procedure – Please send a letter of application, curriculum vitae, and the names of three references to:
Professor Mark Steyvers
Department of Cognitive Sciences
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-5100