PhD research opportunity
Optimal starting strategies for yacht match racing
Department of Engineering Science
University of Auckland
 
Emirates Team New Zealand successfully challenged for the America’s Cup in 2017.  They will now defend the Cup in 2021 in foiling monohulls (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rx2qG_YMrDs) that are match raced in pairs. The Emirates Team New Zealand design team are collaborating with Professor Andy Philpott at the University of Auckland to supervise a PhD project involving machine learning for optimizing yacht-race strategy, in particular at the start of a match race. 
The proposed research involves a combination of stochastic optimization, non-cooperative game theory, and computer science. We are seeking a top undergraduate student with interests in these areas that might be excited by the chance to do a PhD in Auckland on this topic in collaboration with the America's Cup holders.  Yachting experience is not a requirement, but the student must be an adept programmer, with some training in coding machine-learning algorithms. 
A PhD at Auckland takes three years and involves a research dissertation only. The proposed PhD research is funded (tuition fees and a living allowance of approximately $25,000 p.a.) for three years by the New Zealand Government, and has to be carried out in Auckland. 
Interested students should email a letter of application, and a recent academic resume including the name of one academic referee, to a.philpott@auckland.ac.nz, to reach him by February 23, 2018. The successful applicant will be notified by March 2, 2018.