07 July 2012

Dutch PhD project in connection to PigIT granted

Bayesian Networks for Bio-monitoring:

The Dutch research council "NWO Exacte Wetenschappen" has granted a four year PhD project under the supervision of Professor Linda C. van der Gaag, Department of Information and Computing Sciences, Utrecht University. The project title is "Bayesian Networks for Bio-monitoring".

Scientific summary

Research in probabilistic modelling in artificial intelligence has resulted in the powerful framework of Bayesian networks. Bayesian networks are being applied for a large range of problems, most notably for diagnostic problems in the biomedical field. For this type of problem, they model the pathophysiological processes involved in the disease under consideration. Not all problems in the biomedical field are of a diagnostic nature, however: a major challenge in animal production farms for example is to maintain animal welfare, which requires monitoring a herd of animals to identify the very first signs of a degrading welfare status. Developing a Bayesian network for this type of application requires modelling not the progression of some disease but the pattern of normal behaviour instead, along with their biological variability. While Bayesian networks in essence constitute a suitable framework for developing this type of application, monitoring has as yet received little attention from the Bayesian-network community. In the proposed research project, tailored methods for developing monitoring applications will be designed, building upon a range of concepts and techniques from computer science and statistics. The expected results include:

  • formalisms and algorithms for monitoring applications involving biological variability, of Bayesian networks;
  • insights in the requirements for different types of monitoring application.

While composed of fundamental research aimed at generally applicable techniques, the proposed project will be conducted within the real-world setting of animal welfare in pig production farms through a scientific alliance with two Danish universities.

Research team

The proposed research will be conducted within the Decision-support Systems group, headed by Professor Linda C. van der Gaag, at the Department of Information and Computing Sciences, Universiteit Utrecht (UU), and in close collaboration with researchers from two Danish universities:

Name Position

Prof.dr.ir. L.C. van der Gaag

dr. S. Renooij

dr. A. Dijkstra

M.T. Rietbergen

S.P.D. Woudenberg

Full professor (UU – Computer Science)

Researcher/lecturer (UU – Computer Science)

Researcher/lecturer (UU – Computer Science)

M.Sc. Ph.D. student (UU – Computer Science)

M.Sc. Ph.D. student (UU – Computer Science)

Prof.dr. A.R. Kristensen

dr. Erik Jørgensen

Full professor (University of Copenhagen)
Chief scientist (Aarhus University)

NN PhD student (financed by the grant)