July 1, 2021 - 11:30 am
Scientists have long searched in vain for a class of brain cells that could explain the visceral flash of recognition that we feel when we see a very familiar face, like that of our grandmothers. But the proposed "grandmother neuron"--a single cell at the crossroads of sensory perception and memory, capable of prioritizing an important face over the rabble--remained elusive. Now, new research reveals a class of neurons in the brain's temporal...
June 29, 2021 - 11:00 am
The challenges of tackling this question are so daunting that few have tried. But Heather Kosakowski, a PhD candidate at MIT, is determined to find answers. by Rachel Fritts, SM ’20 It‘s Ursula’s third time in the functional MRI machine. Heather Kosakowski, a PhD student in cognitive neuroscience, is hoping to get just two precious minutes of data from her session. Even though Ursula has been booked to have her brain scanned for two hours, it’s...
Mandana Sassanfar
June 24, 2021 - 10:15 am
by Raleigh McElvery A lifelong interest in teaching brought Mandana Sassanfar to MIT, where she has established programs to engage diverse students and forged partnerships with institutes across the country. Of all the offices in Building 68, Mandana Sassanfar’s is perhaps the most colorful. Her walls are lined with photos of students past and present, each of whom completed one or more of the six outreach programs she heads as the Department of...
Photo of Guangyu Robert Yang, MIT
June 15, 2021 - 2:00 pm
This seminar talk will be hosted remotely via Zoom.
Guangyu Robert Yang, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS),  EECS Dept., Schwarzman College of...
Abstract:  Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) trained with machine learning techniques on cognitive tasks have become a widely accepted tool for neuroscientists. In comparison to traditional computational models in neuroscience, RNNs can offer substantial advantages at explaining complex behavior and...
June 9, 2021 - 7:30 pm
ISSNAF, the Italian Scientists and Scholars in North America Foundation, annually awards the Young Investigator Awards in various disciplines to outstanding, early-career Italian researchers working in the United States or Canada, in recognition of their significant and innovative contributions to their field of research. ISSNAF is very pleased to announce the Young Investigator Awards of 2021 and is grateful to their sponsors for their...
Photo of Prof. Robert D. Nowak
June 8, 2021 - 2:00 pm
This seminar talk will be hosted remotely via Zoom.
Prof. Robert D. Nowak, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Abstract: This talk presents a variational framework to understand the properties of functions learned by neural networks fit to data. The framework is based on total variation semi-norms defined in the Radon domain, which is naturally suited to the analysis of neural activation functions (ridge...
a pair of human eyeballs
May 24, 2021 - 10:30 am
The correct answer is: squishiness Story by Ben Dickson Since the early years of artificial intelligence, scientists have dreamed of creating computers that can “see” the world. As vision plays a key role in many things we do every day, cracking the code of computer vision seemed to be one of the major steps toward developing artificial general intelligence. But like many other goals in AI, computer vision has proven to be easier said than done...
Photo of Prof. Earl Miller (PILM, MIT)
May 11, 2021 - 4:00 pm
Prof. Earl K. Miller, Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, BCS Dept., MIT
Host: Prof. Matt Wilson (MIT)
Abstract: Working memory is the sketchpad of consciousness, the fundamental mechanism the brain uses to gain volitional control over its thoughts and actions. For the past 50 years, working memory has been thought to rely on cortical neurons that fire continuous...
May 11, 2021 - 9:30 am
Simultaneous measurement of neural rhythms and spikes across five brain areas reveals how propofol induces unconsciousness. David Orenstein | Picower Institute for Learning and Memory In a uniquely deep and detailed look at how the commonly used anesthetic propofol causes unconsciousness, a collaboration of labs at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT shows that as the drug takes hold in the brain, a wide swath of regions become...
May 10, 2021 - 12:30 pm
by Ben Dickson Welcome to AI book reviews, a series of posts that explore the latest literature on artificial intelligence. Since the early years of artificial intelligence, scientists have dreamed of creating computers that can “see” the world. As vision plays a key role in many things we do every day, cracking the code of computer vision seemed to be one of the major steps toward developing artificial general intelligence. But like many other...
Photo of Prof. Alan L. Yuille
May 4, 2021 - 2:30 pm
Hosted via Zoom
Prof. Alan L. Yuille (JHU)
Abstract: Current AI visual algorithms are very limited compared to the robustness and flexibility of the human visual system. These limitations, however, are often obscured by the standard performance measures (SPMs) used to evaluate vision algorithms which favor data-driven methods. SPMs, however...
May 2, 2021 - 10:00 am
Computer models that mimic humans’ extraordinary hearing abilities could improve treatments for hearing loss. Anne Trafton | MIT News Office The human auditory system is a marvel of biology. It can follow a conversation in a noisy restaurant, learn to recognize words from languages we’ve never heard before, and identify a familiar colleague by their footsteps as they walk by our office. So far, even the most sophisticated computational models...
Photo of Dr. Ben Deen
April 27, 2021 - 4:00 pm
Dr. Ben Deen (Rockefeller University)
Host: Prof. Winrich Freiwald (Rockefeller University)
Abstract: What is the cognitive and neural architecture of core reasoning systems for understanding people and places? In this talk, we will outline a novel theoretical framework, arguing that internal models of people and places are implemented...
April 13, 2021 - 4:00 pm
Panelists: Profs. Talia Konkle (Harvard), Josh Tenenbaum (MIT), and Sam Gershman (Harvard) Moderator: Prof....
Abstract: TBA
 
This panel discussion is being hosted via Zoom.
 
Zoom link: https://mit.zoom.us/j/98767476352
 
April 12, 2021 - 11:45 am
Memory permits the reuse of past cognitive computations Psychologists and neuroscientists have long studied memory using experimental tasks in which people or animals are presented with some information and then later asked to make judgments about it. This approach has led to a view of memory as a system specialized for solving these kinds of recollection tasks. Recent work by scientists at the Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines (CBMM)...

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