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 [...]

New paper from CNC faculty examines how insect wing structure impacts sensory feedback during flight

A new paper in PLoS Computational Biology from Washington Research Foundation postdoctoral fellow Ali Weber and CNC faculty members Tom Daniel and Bing Brunton examines how insect wing structure and mechanosensory neurons together determine optimal sensing performance during flight. Insects require sensory feedback to maintain stable flight. The team noted that while the mechanical properties of insect wings have been studied extensively, we have little understanding of the forces driving the evolution of [...]

Retina ‘hardwired’ to predict path of moving objects

CNC faculty member Fred Rieke was recently featured by UW Medicine News, highlighting a new paper in Nature Neuroscience. The paper was co-authored by UW undergraduate students Belle Liu and Arthur Hong (co-first authors) and Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology Michael Manookin. (republished from the UW Medicine Newsroom, written by Michael McCarthy) Neural circuits in the primate retina can generate the information needed to predict the path of a moving object before visual signals [...]

Announcing Neuro Book Club

CNC Co-Director Adrienne Fairhall and IST Austria professor Tim Vogels are launching a monthly online book club focusing on neuroscience. The first meeting will be on May 10th at 10am Pacific time and will feature a reading and Q&A with Grace Lindsay, Research Fellow at the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at UCL and author of Models of the Mind: How Physics, Engineering and Mathematics Have Shaped Our Understanding of the Brain. For more information and to [...]

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