Theme for Fall 2011: Computational Brain-Mind
This course will cover computational principles based on which the brain-mind works. The material integrates advances in computer science, neuroscience, psychology, biology, electrical engineering and mathematics. The course is designed to suit graduate students in natural sciences, engineering, and social sciences who are interested in studying how the brain-mind works. The subjects include epigenesis; development; brain-mind architectures; dorsal and ventral streams; brain areas; features; self-organization; cell mechanisms; biological basis of working, long-term, episodic, and manipulatory memories; perception; cognition; autonomy in learning; brain processes for vision, audition, touch and motor behaviors; bottom-up attention; top-down attention; incremental learning; scaffolding; skill transfer; motivational systems; modulatory systems; autonomous reasoning; decision making; planning; self awareness; and consciousness. The subject matter cuts across levels of cells, circuits, systems, brains, experience, and functions. An emphasis is brain-mechamisms that are applicable to practical applications. Compared with traditional computer methods, why the brain methods appear to be more computational efficient, more robust, and of a lower computational complexity? The material covered potentially may lead to new subjects and approaches in computer science, neuroscience, psychology, biology, electrical engineering and mathematics.
Each student will work on a course project. There will be some homework (e.g., paper readings), and some seminar presentations (on the readings). One final examination, which has two versions Track 1 and Track 2. 3 credits.