Brains, Minds and Machines Summer Course

In May 2014, the Center launched the first Brains, Minds and Machines (BMM) summer course, held on the campus of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. The school was attended by 25 graduate students and postdocs from around the world, and provided a "deep end" introduction to the problem of intelligence — how the brain produces intelligent behavior and how we may be able to replicate intelligence in machines. Like CBMM itself, the philosophy of the course is that the synergistic combination of cognitive science, neuroscience, engineering, mathematics, and computer science, will lead to the creation of much more robust and sophisticated algorithms implemented in intelligent machines and will accelerate the scientific investigation of how intelligent behavior emerges from neural activity in the brain.

The first part of the two-week 2014 course combined instruction on the general theoretical foundations and computational methods used in intelligence research with an introduction to empirical methods used in neuroscience and cognitive science to probe the function of neural circuits and emergent behavior. The later part of the course examined current research within the five major research thrusts of the Center. Lectures by CBMM faculty were complemented with hands-on computer labs and group project work supervised by graduate and postdoctoral teaching assistants.

The overall goal of the BMM summer course is to create a community of leaders in the science of intelligence who are equally knowledgeable in neuroscience, cognitive science, and computer science. During the second year of the summer course, the Brains, Minds and Machines Summer Course format was expanded to three-weeks, and was held at MBL from August, 2015. Planning has begun for the third annual summer course,which is scheduled to be held again at MBL, from August 15, 2015 through September 5, 2016.