CNC partners with UW ENDURE to expand access to neuroscience education

by Lila Levinson Historically, the world of neuroscience has not been easily accessible for many socioeconomic and minority groups. While representation of diverse groups in neuroscience has grown and been increasingly celebrated in recent years (see, for instance, #BlackInNeuro), demographic changes have yet to filter up the ranks of academia. While data from the last decade suggest that half of neuroscience PhD students and over half of neuroscience undergraduates are women, the average [...]

Molecular networks that guide neural networks to learn

Our thoughts and behavior are the product of vast neural networks inside us.  These networks are wired with stunning and intricate complexity.  But how does this wiring come about -- and how can this wiring process be mimicked in artificial brains for AI?  This requires assigning the right values to thousands to trillions or more of individual connections, so that the network as a whole produces the desired behavior -- a daunting task.  [...]

Applications open for Fall 2022 Shanahan Foundation Fellows

We are thrilled to announce applications are being accepted for the Fall 2022 cohort of Shanahan Foundation Fellows, a unique postdoctoral experience funded by the Shanahan Family Foundation and Allen Institute, and co-hosted by the Allen Institute and UW. The program is directed by Christof Koch, Ph.D., Chief Scientist for the MindScope Program at the Allen Institute. The brain is one of the most complex challenges in science today. And now, with advances in our methods [...]

Three new AI institutes extend the CNC’s AI and neuroscience research program

by Lila Levinsion Artificial Intelligence (AI) and neuroscience have an extensive and fruitful history of collaboration. Biological neurons are the basis for artificial neural nets (ANNs), a powerful type of AI, and ANNs have, in turn, contributed to our understanding of biological brain circuits. Through major investments from the National Science Foundation, three new centers have been established at UW to help continue this legacy, leveraging bidirectional collaborations between neuroscientists and AI experts [...]

A Conversation on AI Ethics with Blaise Agüera y Arcas

by Lila Levinson In 1958, the New York Times published an article about the "Perceptron" – a computer that taught itself, in a live demonstration for reporters, to distinguish between left and right. Computers at the time took information fed to them on punch cards, followed an explicit set of instructions about what computations to perform on the input, and output the results of these computations. The Perceptron, on the other hand, accumulated [...]

New paper from Fairhall Lab looks at the role of dopamine in learning and motivation

by Lila Levinson Neuroscience is rarely straightforward enough to describe in a catchy phrase. This is exemplified by dopamine, known popularly as the “pleasure molecule.” One of the few neurotransmitters to make its way into popular culture (it is referenced in over 90 band names on Spotify), dopamine is a key player in the reward mechanisms that make us feel good when our actions result in the desired effects or we experience something [...]

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