Psychology 290(4) - Spring 2000


Minds and Machines

Is the mind a machine? Is it a computer? What does it mean to `compute?' Can a computer have a mind? In this seminar, we will explore answers to these and similar questions from a combination of neuroscientific, computational, and philosophical perspectives. The seminar will meet once a week and will feature a number of guest speakers from neuroscience, computer science, and philosophy, including:

Tony Bell - computational neuroscience
Rob Cummins - philosophy
Doug Hofstadter - cognitive science/AI
Pentti Kanerva - artificial intelligence
Phil Rogaway - computer science/complexity theory
Yair Weiss - vision/Bayesian inference


Course particulars:

Instructor: Bruno A. Olshausen

Date/time:  T 7:00 p.m.

Location:  Center for Neuroscience conference room

Units: 3

CRN: 75911

Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of neuroscience, computer science, or philosophy. PSC/NPB 163 recommended.

Grading: Students enrolled for credit will be required to write a short report on one of the articles/topics discussed in class.

Text (recommended): Minds, Brains, and Computers, ed. by Cummins and Cummins, Blackwell Publishers, 2000.

Syllabus (tentative):

Date              Topic

April 4          The future of artificial intelligence and neuroscience.  Guest speaker:
                            Tony Bell

                               Bell AJ (1999)  Levels and Loops: the Future of Artificial Intelligence and
                               Neuroscience, Phil. Trans. R Soc. Lond. B 354:2013-2020. pdf

April 11          Mind, brain, and computation.

                               Turing AM (1950)  Computing Machinery and Intelligence,  Mind, 59.

                               Harnad S (2001)  Minds, Machines and Turing,  Journal of Logic, Language,
                               and Information (in press) html

April 18          What does it mean to ``compute?''  Guest speaker: Phil Rogaway

                                Sipser, M (1997)   The Church-Turing Thesis.  Chapter 3 of Introduction to the
                                Theory of Computation.  PWS Publishing.

April 25          Computing with holistic representations.  Guest speaker:  Pentti Kanerva

                                Kanerva, P.  (1998) Dual role of analogy in the design of a cognitive computer.
                                In  K. Holyoak, D. Gentner, and B. Kokinov (eds.), Advances in Analogy
                                Research: Integration of Theory and Data from the Cognitive, Computational,
                                and Neural Sciences (workshop, Sofia), pp. 164-170.  Sofia: New Bulgarian
                                University.  postscript

                                Kanerva, P.  (1999) Artificial Minds, Stan Franklin, MIT Press, 1995.  Book
                                review.  Journal of Cognitive Systems Research 1(1):53-57. text

May 2             Mental representation.  Guest speaker:  Rob Cummins

                                Cummins, R. (2000) "The mind as computer, "  "The mind as neural network,"
                                and "The mind as brain."    In:  Minds, Brains and Computers  ed. by R.
                                Cummins and D.D. Cummins.  Blackwell Publishers.  html, rtf.

May 9             Searle's Chinese room - or, ``Can machines think?''

                                Searle JR (1980)  Minds, Brains, and Programs,  Behavioral and Brain
                                Sciences, 3.

                                Searle JR (2000) Consciousness,  Annual Reviews of Neuroscience, 23: 557-578.

May 15           ``Who shoves whom around in the careenium?''  Guest speaker: Doug
(Note: Monday)   Hofstadter.

                                ``Who shoves whom around in the careenium?'' and ``Waking up from the
                                Boolean Dream''  from Metamagical Themas

                                ``Prelude and Fugue'' from  Godel, Escher, Bach

                                Dawkin's  Selfish Gene excerpt from The Mind's Eye

May 23           Dynamics, computation, and neurobiology.

                                Hopfield JJ (1997) Dynamics, computation, and neurobiology.   In: Critical
                                problems in physics,  ed. V. L. Fitch, D. R. Marlow, and  M.A.E. Dementi.
                                Princeton University Press.

                                van Gelder T (1998)  The Dynamical Hypothesis in Cognitive Science
                                Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 21:1-14. postscript

                                Mitchell, M (1998)  A complex-systems perspective on the "computation vs.
                                dynamics debate in cognitive science."  submitted to the 20th Annual
                                Conference of the Cognitive Science Societypostscript

May 30           Perception as Bayesian inference.  Guest speaker:  Yair Weiss

                                Weiss Y, Adelson EH  (2000) Slow and Smooth: a Bayesian theory for the
                                combination of local motion signals in human vision.  preprint postscript
                                (63 pages)

                                Weiss Y  (1997)  Interpreting images by propagating Bayesian beliefs.  in: M.C.
                                Mozer, M.I. Jordan and T. Petsche, editors, Advances in Neural Information
                                Processing Systems 9: 908-915.   postscript, pdf

June 6             Quantum computation.

                                Bennett CH, DiVincenzo DP (2000)  Quantum information and computation,
                                Nature 404:247-255. pdf, postscript