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Interaction, learning and autonomous systems PhD Training

Final Activity Report Summary - VISITOR (Interaction, Learning and Autonomous systems PhD Training)

The VISITOR programme was a four years' PhD training programme, which lasted from 2004 to 2008, in interaction, learning and autonomous system as organised by the Gravir laboratory in Grenoble-France.

During the VISITOR project eight PhD students and seven visiting students were funded. PhD students were funded for 36 months, starting in 2004 and 2005, and visiting students were funded for less than a year along the four years of the project. VISITOR students originated from six European countries and five non-European countries. Among the 320.5 months funded by this programme, 120 months, i.e. 37.5 %, were for women and covered three PhD students and three visiting students. Five PhD theses were defended in 2008 by VISITOR students and three were to be defended in early 2009, following the project completion.

The management of the project was held by a scientific committee. This committee was composed of the Director of the Gravir laboratory, two members from each institution associated to the laboratory, and two external members. This scientific committee was in charge of the candidate selection and the work evaluation. VISITOR positions were advertised through diffusion lists and various websites, including the European opportunity website. Candidates, associated to research subjects, were preselected by the research teams of the laboratory and presented to the scientific committee. Each application was carefully reviewed by two members of the scientific committee and the selection was then achieved based on the written reviews and during a meeting of the scientific committee. Two main criteria were considered, namely the excellence of the candidates and the priority of the research subjects. The balance between men and women in the programme was also taken into account. Students were then evaluated on a regular basis during meetings organised with the scientific committee and, during which, work progresses were presented by the students. Eight such meetings were organised during the project. More specifically, one was held in 2004, two in 2005, two in 2006, two in 2007 and one in 2008.

The training area of the VISITOR programme focussed on themes which were interactive environments, learning systems and real or virtual autonomous systems. Each of them included challenging topics which concerned research teams of the laboratory. Interaction was related to perception, modelling, rendering and animation; learning systems were related to recognition, image retrieval and video indexing; autonomous systems were related to learning, perception and motion planning. Six PhD students and five visiting students were working in the interaction theme, one PhD student and one visiting student in the learning system theme, one PhD student and one visiting student in the autonomous system theme. Each student was supervised by a permanent member of the laboratory and no permanent member was involved in more than two supervisions under the VISITOR programme. A total of 38 articles were published by students from the VISITOR programme between 2005 and 2008. This included publications in the main conferences in computer graphics, such as Siggraph, in computer vision, i.e. Icvv, Cvpr and Eccv and in robotics, namely Icra and Iros. During the VISITOR project, students participated in 48 conferences.