Brain Expert Terrence Sejnowski To Visit Australia
brain emulationAustralians will have the rare opportunity to learn about the complexities of the human brain and what the future has in store for it, following today’s announcement that one of the world’s leading brain experts will visit Melbourne next year.

Date Time: 09/03/2011 Wednesday at 5.30 for a 6.15 start
Category: Science/Technology
Location: Melbourne Convention Centre
Street Address: 1 Convention Centre Place
Town/Suburb: South Wharf

Registration is essential as places are limited –>


The free public lecture, The Computational Brain, will explore:
• the workings of the brain;
• whether we are any closer to building artificial brains;
• how our understanding of the brain is transforming ideas about learning and education and the role of social robots; and
• brain behaviour in disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

Appearance at the Singularity Summit (US) 2010

At the Singualrity Summit in the US 2010, Terry also gave a presentation (Reverse-engineering brains is within reach) and sat on a panel (Sejnowski/Bray debate: Will we soon realistically emulate biological systems?).

Reverse-engineering brains is within reach

Sejnowski/Bray debate: Will we soon realistically emulate biological systems?

About Terrence Sejnowski

Professor Terrence Sejnowski, best known for his work in understanding the principles that link the brain to behaviour, will deliver the Graeme Clark Oration on 9 March 2011 in his only Australian appearance. “Professor Sejnowski has an international reputation as a pioneer in computational neuroscience, and we are honoured to welcome him to Melbourne to inspire the general public with his deep understanding of brain function,” said Professor Iven Mareels, member of the ICT for Life Sciences Forum Management Committee and Dean of the Melbourne School of Engineering, University of Melbourne.

“His research has contributed to our understanding of such issues as the sleeping brain, memory, the importance of emotions, and debilitating disorders including autism, schizophrenia, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.”

Terrence Sejnowski currently holds the Francis Crick Chair at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies and is also a Professor of Biology at the University of California, San Diego, where he is co-director of both the Institute for Neural Computation and the NSF Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center. Professor Sejnowski is the President of the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) Foundation and is the founding editor-in-chief of Neural Computation published by the MIT Press. An investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, he is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

He has received many honours, including the Wright Prize for interdisciplinary research from Harvey Mudd College, the Neural Network Pioneer Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Hebb Prize from the International Neural Network Society. Professor Sejnowski was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2008 and to the National Academy of Sciences in 2010. Over the years he has published in excess of 300 scientific papers and 12 books, including The Computational Brain which he co-wrote with Patricia Churchland.

The Graeme Clarke Oration delivered by Professor Terrence Sejnowski, will be held at 6.15pm on Wednesday 9 March 2011 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Click here to be notified when this free public event is open for registration

Abstract for Terrence Sejnowski’s presentation “Reverse Engineering Brains Is Within Reach”

When physicists puzzle out the workings of some new part of nature, that knowledge can be used to build devices that do amazing things — airplanes that fly, radios that reach millions of listeners. When we come to understand how brains function, we should become able to build amazing devices with cognitive abilities — such as cognitive cars that are better at driving than we are because they communicate with other cars and share knowledge on road conditions. In 2008, the National Academy of Engineering chose as one of its grand brain emulationchallenges to reverse-engineer the human brain. This is already happening, though not in a way that might be obvious. In 2005, Simon Haykin, director of the Cognitive Systems Laboratory at McMaster University, wrote an influential article called “Cognitive radio: Brain empowered wireless communications” which laid the groundwork for a new generation of wireless networks that use computational principles from brains to predictively model the use of the electromagnetic spectrum, and are more efficient at using the bandwidth than current standards. Early versions of these intelligent communications systems are already planned for the next federal auction of the electromagnetic spectrum. Soon to come are similar ways to enhance other utilities, such as the “cognitive power grid,” which will automatically anticipate and regulate the flow of power around the country. The sensorium and motorium of these cognitive systems will be the infrastructure of the world. Sensors will stream information — on the use of electricity, weather patterns, and travel conditions — and use this information to optimize goals, such as reducing power usage and travel time, by regulating the flow of resources. Parts of this system are already in place, such as sensors and the internet, but there is as yet no central nervous system to integrate this torrent of information and take appropriate actions. But as it increasingly mimics the workings of our brains, the world around us will become smarter and more efficient.

Post Event

The event was a success with over 1,700 people attending to listen to Professor Terrence Sejnowski of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies deliver his oration, ‘The Computational Brain’.

If you attended, it would be great if you would take a moment to complete a short survey about the event. Please click here to be taken to the survey questions. Thank you for taking a moment to give us your feedback.

As you would have been advised prior to the Oration, Professor Sejnowski has agreed to take questions from attendees at his presentation. If you would like to put a question to Professor Sejnowski about his oration, please click here.

The ICT for Life Sciences Forum is pleased to make the Graeme Clark Oration 2011 available for viewing on the Web. Please click here to view the webcast or to listen to the audio presentation.

1 Response » to “The Computational Brain – A Lecture by Terrence Sejnowski”

  1. The event was a success with over 1,700 people attending to listen to Professor Terrence Sejnowski of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies deliver his oration, ‘The Computational Brain’.