Available positions

Postdoctoral position: Detecting statistical complexity in animal communication

Postdoctoral Scholar position at the Complexity Sciences Center, Physics Department, University of California Davis.

(Position filled): Available for Physics, Mathematics, and Computer Science PhDs interested to work on Detecting Bioacoustic Signatures of Cetacean Intelligence through Semantic Information Theory and Deep Machine Learning in Prof. Jim Crutchfield's laboratory, with co-Investigators Dr. Nicolas Brodu (Machine learning, INRIA, Bordeaux) and Prof. Sarah Marzen (Biophysics, Claremont Colleges).

The position is available to recent PhDs to carry out original theoretical and computational research in information-theoretic measures of information, structure, semantics, and intentionality in acoustic signals, with a special emphasis on marine mammal communication. Key background areas include statistical mechanics, dynamical systems, information theory, and computation theory. Familiarity with applied mathematics and machine learning an asset. Ability to develop and maintain open-source software packages (Python) required.

Given its interdisciplinary nature, the project is looking for either a: (i) mathematically-strong machine learning researcher interested in interpretability and willing to learn the necessary statistical mechanics and dynamical systems theory; or, (ii) strong theoretical physicist (statistical mechanics and nonlinear dynamics), who is an accomplished programmer willing to take on machine learning methods.

For further background, please refer to the project website:


and to:

o N. Brodu and J. P. Crutchfield,

                “Discovering Causal Structure with Reproducing-Kernel Hilbert Space ε-Machines”,


o P. M. Riechers and J. P. Crutchfield, “Spectral Simplicity of Apparent Complexity, Parts I & II”,

                doi:10.1063/1.4986248 and doi:10.1063/1.4985199.

o S. E. Marzen and J. P. Crutchfield,

                “Inference, Prediction, and Entropy-Rate Estimation of Continuous-time, Discrete-event Processes”,


Position will be awarded for one year and, contingent upon performance, renewed for an additional year. To apply send CV, statement of scientific interests (one page), and description of proposed work (limited to one page and specifically addressing one or several of the topics above) to Jim Crutchfield (World.Wide.Whale@icloud.com). Candidates should arrange for three letters of recommendation from established researchers, including their current supervisor, to be sent directly from the recommenders to Jim Crutchfield (World.Wide.Whale@icloud.com).

Application review starts 1 July 2021. Work start date contingent on candidate’s US Immigration status and on applicable University of California COVID-19 guidelines. University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer, strongly encouraging applications from women and minority scientists and offering competitive compensation and benefits.