Monday, February 2, 2009

New Job

Construction WorkI don't normally cover work-related things on this blog - I write it as a diversion from work after all - but occasionally work and private life will intersect. The project at ATR I've been working at is ending, and the department is moving into different directions in the coming year. As a result I am leaving ATR and joining a new project. Friday was my last day at ATR.

This is not a sudden development of course; neither is it unusual - project positions are inherently temporary and unstable, and research groups usually change constantly as people join and leave. At ATR for instance, more than half of the people in the group when I first visited almost three years ago are no longer there today. This instability has a lot of consequences - positive and negative - for research groups and people alike, by the way, but that's a subject better covered in a separate post.

My new position will be at NAIST - Nara Institute of Science and Technology - at the Theoretical Life-Science Lab, though I'll be an employee of Kyoto University as the project funding comes through them. The two-year project is briefly to create a neural simulation framework for early vision processes - the optic tectum and oculomotor areas, more or less. Our intention is to integrate this with models of the retina and other areas by other groups and get a complete early perception-action loop implemented. Two years is an ambitious schedule for this sort of thing - I leave ATR early to get a head start - but we'll manage it, I believe.
NAIST is fairly close to ATR, conveniently right on the same train line I already use. It's just one train stop earlier and a little closer to the station so my commute - and my study time - will be about the same as now, at slightly over an hour one-way. I've only visited once, but NAIST seems to be a pretty spacious, well-equipped facility. It's substantially larger than ATR so it has a better library and other shared facilities. The cafeteria seems like a distinct improvement from ATR too; there's just about nothing else around so that's actually pretty important.

Anyway, with a new job I may have my hands full until I get settled a bit; if posting is light in the coming weeks you now know why.

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