Our Vision

Understanding intelligence - how the brain produces intelligent behavior and how we may be able to replicate intelligence in machines - is arguably one of the greatest challenges in science and technology. The Center for Brains, Minds and Machines (CBMM), a multi-institutional NSF Science and Technology Center headquartered at MIT, is dedicated to developing a computationally based understanding of human intelligence and establishing an engineering practice based on that understanding. CBMM brings together computer scientists, cognitive scientists, and neuroscientists to create a new field—the Science and Engineering of Intelligence.

To foster collaboration across disciplines, we emphasize:

  • Contribution to the Center's objectives:
    We aim to better understand human intelligence, to make smarter machines, and to establish a new Science and Engineering of Intelligence. Thus, participants are expected to advance our understanding of how intelligence develops in early life, how it grounds out in neural hardware, how it works at a computational level, how it rests on social interaction, and how our understanding can be magnified via unifying mathematical theories.

  • Collaboration within and among the thrusts:
    We believe that seminal contributions are most likely to emerge from collaborative efforts. Collaborative projects between and among participants, rather than efforts limited to the research group of an individual participant, are highly desirable.

  • Community growing:
    We believe that our common objectives are best reached by establishing a new field of study. To further this end, Center participants, and especially our students and postdocs, are expected to have broad interests and participate energetically in Center research and education activities.

  • Commitment to outreach:
    We believe that diversity is intrinsically valuable. To seize opportunities for bringing diversity into our new field, all Center faculty have committed to contribute to CBMM outreach activities.

Our goal is to prepare students to become future research and education leaders in the Science and Engineering of Intelligence, with integrated knowledge and skills in computation, cognitive science, and neuroscience. We strive to ensure that this new field is broadly inclusive, and we commit to disseminating the results of our work so that it can be brought to bear on the great challenges of the 21st century.