PhD student in Artificial Intelligence /
Automatic Control


The Nordling Lab at the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) is seeking PhD students in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automatic Control. Our group is doing potentially lifesaving interdisciplinary research that involves our core competence in data science and mathematical modelling of biological and cyber-physical systems. We study human learning and cognitive development, in order to develop new learning methods for artificial neural networks (ANNs). We are currently building smart toys, containing sensors and actuators, that enable us to record longitudinal data on how children interact with the toy and thus study development of the sensorimotor function. Today a human can from a single example learn what it takes an ANN thousands or millions of examples. Through bio-mimicking, we plan to create a more data efficient method for training ANNs.

We welcome applications from anyone with a Master in a quantitative STEM field, e.g. Science, Technology, Engineering, Economics, and Mathematics, that is interested in Deep Learning. Documented courses on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Computer Science, Automatic Control, System Identification, Signal Processing, Statistics, Stochastic Processes, or Algebra is beneficial. Experience of using a scientific programming language, in particular Python or Matlab, is required, and knowledge of C/C++ beneficial. A tuition waiver, a scholarship, and part-time employment as a research assistant is provided to cover living expenses. This is an excellent opportunity to focus on 1-2 topics for 3 to 7-years, learn and practice how to do research, and become an expert, in a friendly and inclusive environment. Upon graduation, you are welcome to join the startup we plan to fund in 2022.

To apply, please submit (1) a current CV, including a short biography and link to your GitHub/Bitbucket profile, (2) one recommendation letter, (3) a recent transcript, as one PDF file by email to  by October 15th, 2019. Please write “Application for PhD student in Artificial Intelligence / Automatic Control at Nordling Lab” in the subject field of your email. You also need to apply for admission to the doctoral program in Mechanical Engineering at NCKU by October 30th, see If you apply to any other doctoral program, then you will not be able to join the Nordling Lab.

About the Principal Investigator

Dr. Torbjörn Nordling is an Assistant Professor in Automatic Control at the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering at the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) since Sept. 2015. He obtained both his Ph.D. in Automatic Control (2013) and his M.Sc. in Engineering Physics (2005) from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. Previously, he did a PostDoc at the Dept. of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology at Uppsala University in Sweden. He has been a visiting researcher at Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine in Naples, Italy and ERATO Kitano Symbiotic Systems Project at Japan Science and Technology Agency in Tokyo, Japan. He has also co-founded two companies—Nordron AB and Jagah Systems AB—and been CEO of the former for almost two years.

About the National Cheng Kung University

NCKU is one of the two major comprehensive universities in Taiwan, located in Tainan. The other one is National Taiwan University in Taipei. NCKU is number one in Engineering and Material Science based on research paper ranking by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan. NCKU is also number one in Academia-Industry Collaborations nationwide. The Best College Graduates Nominated by Industry (Global Views Magazine/104 Job Bank) and by top 1000 Taiwanese Enterprises (Cheers Magazine) ranked NCKU as number one in Taiwan 2010-2015. Times Higher Education placed NCKU 501-600th in World University Rankings 2018, 47th in Asia University Rankings 2017, and 22nd in BRICS & Emerging Economies 2017. NCKU was ranked 29th in “The Best Global Universities for Engineering” by the US News & World Report 2016 and 49th in Engineering by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) in 2014. The 2016 Essential Science Indicators (ESI) ranking of published articles placed NCKU 24th in Engineering and 48th in Material Science. The Dept. of Mechanical Engineering ranks 2nd in Taiwan and 24th in Asia.

About Taiwan and Tainan

Taiwan (formally the Republic of China) is a stable democracy located on Formosa, an island east of the Peoples Republic of China and south of Japan. Standard Chinese is the official language and traditional Chinese characters are used. According to InterNations Expat Insider survey 2016 (, Taiwan is the top expat destination in the world and within the top ten in every individual index among the 67 surveyed countries. “Nine in ten expats give the friendliness of local residents towards foreigners a positive rating, compared to only 65% worldwide.” With a total GPD (PPP) of $1.2T and population of 24M, Taiwan is the 19th wealthiest country in terms of GDP (PPP) per capita, according to the International Monetary Fund 2017, on pair with Australia and Denmark. With a cost of living index of 65, Taiwan is 31st, 20% cheaper than Australia and 30% cheaper than Denmark, according to Numbeo 2018 ( The expenditure in US$ PPP on research and development in Taiwan was 33.7B (11th highest), 3.1% of GDP PPP (6th highest) in 2015, which makes Taiwan one of the better countries to get funding for research in. In 2017, the Taiwanese government has allocated 16B TWD (530M USD) to develop an “AI innovation ecosystem” over the next four years.

Tainan is the oldest city and was the capital of Taiwan for over 2 centuries. Nowadays, it is considered the cultural capital with the largest number of temples and rich variety of food. Tainan has tropical savanna climate with a daily mean temperature between 18.5 and 29.2 °C and average rainy days between 2.2 and 5 from October to March and 7.2 to 15.3 from April to September. The median total monthly cost of living, including food, rent, and other expenses, among all students in the Nordling Lab in January 2018 was 13 300 TWD.

PhD Student

Seniority Level:
Entry level


Employment type:

Nordling Lab,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
National Cheng Kung University
No. 1 University Road Tainan 70101

Principal Investigator:
Torbjörn Nordling, Ph.D., M.Sc.
Assistant Professor

+886 (0)6 275 7575 Ext. 62164

+886 (0)6 235 2973