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Seminar: Brains – The Ultimate Challenge for Complex Systems

Seminar: Brains – The Ultimate Challenge for Complex Systems

Professor Wlodek Duch

Wlodzislaw Duch heads the Department of Informatics, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, Poland, and is also a Nanyang Visiting Professor (2010-12) in the School of Computer Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore where ha also worked in 2003-07. MSc (1977) in theoretical physics, Ph.D. in quantum chemistry (1980), postdoc at Univ. of Souther California, Los Angeles (1980-82), D.Sc. in applied math (1987); worked at the University of Florida; Max-Planck-Institute, Munich, Germany, Kyushu Institute of Technology, Meiji and Rikkyo University in Japan, and several other institutions. He is/was on the editorial board of IEEE TNN, CPC, NIP-LR, Journal of Mind and Behavior, and 12 other journals; was co-founder & scientific editor of the “Polish Cognitive Science” journal; for two terms has served as the President of the European Neural Networks Society executive committee (2006-2008-2011), is an active member of IEEE CIS Technical committee; works as expert of the European Union science programs; published about 440 scientific and popular articles, co-authored 4 books and edited 17 books, his DuchSoft company has made GhostMiner software package marketed by Fujitsu.

W. Duch is an expert in computational intelligence (CI), especially in methods that facilitate understanding of data, general CI theory based on similarity evaluation and composition of transformations, meta-learning schemes that automatically discover the best model for a given data. He also tries to develop neurocognitive informatics, algorithms inspired by models of brain functions at different levels, geometrical theories for modeling of mental events and relating such models to neurodynamics, models of attention deficit disorders integrating genetic, molecular, neural and behavioral levels, infant learning and toys that facilitate mental development. He has written a number of papers in the philosophy of mind, helping to develop cognitive sciences curriculum. With a wide background in many branches of science and understanding of different cultures he bridges various scientific communities. As a service to the international community he maintains many web pages related to computational intelligence, neuroscience, machine learning and statistics.
Date: 5 September 2011

Time: 1.30pm

Venue: Physics Conference Room, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Address: 21 Nanyang Link, Singapore 637371


One of the greatest challenge for science is to better understand the brain, most complex system in the known Universe, and find new ways to protect it, develop and maintain it, interact and enhance its capabilities, create brain-inspired cognitive systems and implement such systems in portable devices interacting with people in a natural way. This grand vision links many branches of natural sciences and medicine with engineering and computational sciences, from molecular level to social dynamics and cognitive robotics. Brain-based systems, once available, will rapidly change many aspects of our ways of living.

In this talk I will present some challenges and large-scale projects aimed at the whole brain simulation currently planned or under development, and propose a few projects that require integration of software and hardware, expertise in many areas of science, psychology, medicine and art, in several focus areas:

  1. Embodied conversational agents for humanized interfaces based on brain-inspired cognitive architectures, with various sensors, integrating reasoning based on perceptions with multiple types of memory and extensive world knowledge, for question/answer systems, personal advisors, education, mirroring personality, facilitating information acquisition from patients, using forensic testing techniques to discover deception.
  2. Assistive technologies, from infancy to old age, detecting the signs of developmental problems of infants and babies, actively testing cognitive skills in an environment encouraging exploration and rewarding curiosity.
  3. Understanding complex cognition through brain models and linking it to human behavior, phonemics, developing neuroinformatics to integrate information on genetic, molecular, cellular, neural, network and behavioral levels, to understand neurodegenerative disease, neuroeconomics, social interactions and processes, creativity in language, behavior and arts.
These projects will have great commercial and scientific value, end up in tangible products, integrate research efforts of many people with diverse background, and be at the forefront of brain-inspired engineering.