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Scientist I - Bio-inspired Machine Learning

The Allen Institute for Brain Science
Times Square, WA
Closing date
Jul 14, 2024

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Organization Type
The mission of the Allen Institute is to unlock the complexities of bioscience and advance our knowledge to improve human health. Using an open science, multi-scale, team-oriented approach, the Allen Institute focuses on accelerating foundational research, developing standards and models, and cultivating new ideas to make a broad, transformational impact on science.

The Data-Driven Discovery Center for Biology (D3B) is committed to pioneering the future of bioscience research by leveraging state-of-the-art computational techniques and data analytics. Our mission focuses on driving advancements in neuroscience, cellular biology, and immunology through the integration of computational science and biological research. As part of the Allen Institute, D3B aims to be a global leader in creating actionable insights from complex biological data.

Biological systems learn differently than current machine learning systems, with generally higher sample efficiency but also strong inductive biases. The scientist will explore the effects which bio-realistic neurons, plasticity rules and architectures have on learning in artificial neural networks. This will be done by combining construction of artificial neural network with bio-inspired constraints. Of particular interest is understanding the role stimulus saliency plays in credit assignment.

The Allen Institute believes that team science significantly benefits from the participation of diverse voices, experiences, and backgrounds. High-quality science can only be produced when it includes different perspectives. We are committed to increasing diversity across every team and encourage people from all backgrounds to apply for this role.

Essential Functions
  • Narrow down candidate bio-inspired constraints which could affect learning
  • Construct artificial neural networks with these bio-inspired constraints
  • Analyze the effects such constrains have on learning
  • Publish the findings
  • Propose new candidate bio-inspired constraints

Note: Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. This description reflects management's assignment of essential functions; it does not proscribe or restrict the tasks that may be assigned.

Required Education and Experience
  • Ph.D. in Applied Math, Computer Science, Computational Neuroscience, Physics or related field; or equivalent combination of degree and experience
  • Strong quantitative background
  • Strong machine learning background

Preferred Education and Experience
  • Computational and/or systems neuroscience experience
  • Strong publication record
  • Track record of independent thinking

Physical Demands
  • Fine motor movements in fingers/hands to operate computers and other office equipment; repetitive motion with lab equipment.

Position Type/Expected Hours of Work
  • This role is currently able to work both remotely and onsite in a hybrid work environment. We are a Washington State employer, and the primary work location for all Allen Institute employees is 615 Westlake Ave N.; any remote work must be performed in Washington State.

Additional Comments
  • **Please note, this opportunity offers relocation assistance**
  • **Please note, this opportunity offers work visa sponsorship**

Annualized Salary Range
  • $82,650 - $ 110,200*

* Final salary depends on the required education for the role, experience, level of skills relevant to the role, and work location, where applicable.


Employees (and their families) are eligible to enroll in benefits per eligibility rules outlined in the Allen Institute's Benefits Guide. These benefits include medical, dental, vision, and basic life insurance. Employees are also eligible to enroll in the Allen Institute's 401k plan. Paid time off is also available as outlined in the Allen Institutes Benefits Guide.

It is the policy of the Allen Institute to provide equal employment opportunity (EEO) to all persons regardless of age, color, national origin, citizenship status, physical or mental disability, race, religion, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, genetic information, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. In addition, the Allen Institute will provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities.

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