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AGC e-News
Published: 25 October 2017

In This Edition:

Major Scholarship and Admission Round Closes 31 October 2017

Applications for admission and scholarship for Masters by Research and PhD programs commencing in the first half of 2018 are open from 1 September to 31 October 2017.

All applications for the Major Round for domestic applicants must be submitted through the University's HDR online application system.

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The Annual Review of Progress is due on 31 October 2017

To ensure that you are on track to complete the milestone by the due date, please:

Remember, to access your Annual Review, click on the blue 'Start Annual Review of Progress' button at: and log in with your usual University username and password.  Once you have submitted your portion of the Annual Review form to your supervisors for consideration you can log back in at any time to track the progress of the form’s approval and view your supervisor(s)’ and School Approver’s comments. 

If you have any questions about the Annual Review, do not hesitate to contact the Graduate Centre by email: or phone: 8313 5882.

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To be Eligible for Conferral at the Next Available Conferral Date

We would like to remind everyone to be eligible for conferral at the next available conferral date; you must satisfy the following conditions by the relevant deadlines.

  • Have applied for conferral by the "Application Deadline"
  • Have qualified for the award of your degree and lodged your required final paper and digital thesis copies with the Graduate Centre by the Thesis & AHEGS Abstract Deadline
  • Completed the Online Exit Survey
  • Have resolved any outstanding debts to the University by the BPAY Deadline
  • Have checked your application in Access Adelaide and ensured that the details of the award to be conferred on you are correct, by the Anomalies Deadline
  • Have nominated the Graduation Ceremony you wish to attend in Access Adelaide (or recorded that you wish to receive your testamur in absentia), by the relevant deadline specified in Access Adelaide.

More information on relevant deadlines for the 8 January 2018 conferral.

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Policy on Research Authorship

Did you know that the University has a policy on Authorship? It defines the term ‘publication’, explains criteria for appropriate authorship, highlights the management of approval of authorship decisions, and clarifies the dispute resolution processes. See the policy here.

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Quality in Postgraduate Research

Quality in Postgraduate Research (QPR) is the world’s biggest & longest-standing conference on doctoral education.

Registration fees held at 2012 prices with Early-bird rates available until 17 February 2018.

The 13th Quality in Postgraduate Research conference will be held at the National Wine Centre, Adelaide, South Australia between the 17 and 19 April 2018.

See our new look website for registration and accommodation details!

Theme: Impact, engagement and doctoral education

Submissions close 21 November 2017

For further details on the conference and to submit an abstract, please go to the conference website at where the Proposal Guidelines can be found. Any questions about the conference should be sent to either Ms Lea McBride (administrative questions) or Prof Alistair McCulloch(academic questions).

Submission deadline: Tuesday, 21 November 2017 12:00pm (Australian Central Standard Time)
Acceptance/Rejection Notification: mid-December 2017
Authorship limits: Each individual may only appear as an author three times within the conference

Please contact the team at:

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Research Internship with DST Group

R & D of Multiple Semi-Autonomous Systems

Location: Adelaide, SA or Brisbane, QLD 

Note: project must be taken at one of the two locations listed above

Duration: 5 months 

Keywords: Python, Matlab, R, Machine learning, multidiscipline, team-focused, problem solving

Disciplines: Mathematics, Engineering, IT and Computing 

Applications close: Tuesday 7 November 2017


Please note: Due to the sensitivity and security of this project, students must have Australian Citizenship to apply. Any applicants not meeting this requirement will automatically be deemed ineligible for this project.

Skills required 

For this project, we are looking for PhD students with:

  • Computer programming. Python will be used, but is easy to learn for experienced programmers. Matlab or R would also be useful background though not a requirement.
  • Knowledge of Machine Learning, especially Reinforcement Learning.
  • A good team player in a multidisciplinary setting, with a general interest in learning and contributing to a team research effort.
  • Willingness to broaden skills and knowledge beyond current academic field.

The intern does not need to already have expertise in machine learning, so long as they have a strong relevant background and are willing and able to quickly learn what is needed.  Although the role would ideally suit a computer science student, students of statistics, neuroscience, theoretical economics, electrical engineering, robotics, control theory and other related disciplines are encouraged to consider applying.

Project background

Autonomous systems will play an increasing role in defence, but they will need to work alongside and under the command of human war fighters.  These systems will need to quickly learn and adapt to changing situations and needs.  DST Group is working toward this vision by undertaking R&D in machine learning and Human-On-The-Loop control of multiple semi-autonomous systems.

Reinforcement learning is an approach where an agent adapts its behaviour to maximise the reward it obtains from its environment. Google Deep Mind recently demonstrated the ability for a deep network combined with reinforcement learning to learn a range of computer games for the Atari. Of the 50 games attempted around half performed better than a human. However, as first-"person" games none involved control of multiple agents.

The learning problem becomes more complicated if the environment contains other agents who can also learn and adapt. The agent will need to adjust to new behaviour, and should ideally be prepared for the most likely possible behaviours from other agents. The agent may be able to improve its performance by estimating the knowledge and intentions of the other agents. The agent might be able to recognise when it lacks understanding, and seek help from a human or another artificial agent. DST is interested in exploring these kinds of issues in multi-agent reinforcement learning and human autonomy teaming.

Research to be conducted

This research project will apply adversarial learning, and assess the strength of the resulting agents against humans and hand-coded agents.

DST Group are developing a simple game based on a defence scenario to investigate multi-agent learning and high-level command for human autonomy teaming. In the game, the blue side must protect some installations against attack from the red side.  Each side controls several units. Variants of the game will have these units controlled by high level commands (carry out an expanding-square search centered at x, y) or low-level commands (adjust direction by -5 degrees), either by a single agent per side, or with each unit controlled by a separate agent. The Open AI Gym environment will be used for some of these game configurations.

The project will set up reinforcement learning agents to play this game against one another, and see what level of skill they are able to achieve. Simple human user interfaces, and hand-coded players will be created for comparison. Different problems posed by variants of the game will be explored.

Depending on time, progress and the student’s interests, other aspects of the broad problem discussed above may also be investigated.

Expected outcomes

The research is expected to inform DST’s future work on defence applications of autonomy. The final report will make recommendations on further research, and the application of adversarial learning and related techniques in mixed human autonomy teams.

Co-authorship of a conference paper with DST Group researchers would also be a likely outcome.

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 50% (this % is negotiable) of their time on-site with the industry partner. The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project's scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

To participate in the AMSI Intern program, all applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Be a PhD student currently enrolled at an Australian University.
  • PhD candidature must be confirmed.
  • Applicants must have the written approval of their Principal Supervisor to undertake the internship. This approval must be submitted at the time of application.
  • Have Australian Citizenship
  • Internships are also subject to any requirements stipulated by the student’s and the academic mentor’s university.

Rachel Geddes
Business Development

M: 0433 488 213


AMSI Intern is a not-for-profit organisation funded by Australian universities, government agencies and mathematical societies. The program delivers some of Australia’s young and brilliant minds to industries from a range of disciplines. It also provides a platform for industry to engage and attract talent into their organisation. Ultimately, this increases Australia's global competitiveness by improving the work-readiness of highly skilled postgraduate students.

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Research Integrity Advisers

The University has expanded the pool of Research Integrity Advisers (RIAs) available to staff, students and affiliates, to give greater accessibility across all campuses and faculties. RIAs can be approached for confidential advice in relation to the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007) and the relevant University policies and procedures. See a list of current advisers.

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Student Life – Disability Support and International Student Support – new location

Disability Support and International Student Support are now co-located in the Hughes building on level 6. Contact phone numbers and email addresses remain the same. Disability Support: phone 8313 5962,; International Student Support: phone 8313 4828, Counselling Support will remain in the existing office on the ground floor of the Horace Lamb building.

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Free, Independent and Confidential Counselling Service

Did you know that as a Postgraduate Student you are entitled to access counselling services provided to students at The University of Adelaide. To find out more information visit the Counselling Centre website

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Free and Confidential Disability Service

“As a Postgraduate student you are also eligible for assistance from the Disability Service if you have a disability or ongoing medical condition. Information about the nature of your disability is not disclosed – information obtained from you about the functional impact of the disability is shared with academic staff solely for the purpose of assisting you with your studies. Details relating to the Disability Service and the on line registration process can be found on the Disability website.

Useful resources for staff can be found at the staff section of the Disability website.


Level 2, Schulz Building,
The University of Adelaide
SA 5005


Telephone: +61 8 8313 5882
Facsimile: +61 8 8313 5725

Opening Hours

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