Early pioneers of computing such as Alan Turing,John Von Neuman and Herb Simon were fascinated by the possibility of computing opening a window into our understanding of the brain, and how understanding the brain might advance computing. A half century later, computing has made extraordinary progress, but much of the inner workings of the brain remain a mystery. Can we re-ignite the early promise of synergy between research on the human brain and computer science to the benefit of both fields?
This was the theme of a recent workshop on Research Interfaces between Brain Science and Computer Science sponsored by the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The purpose of the workshop was to bring together computer scientists and neuroscientists to help create breakthrough technologies for President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative.
Over 70 computer scientists and neuroscientists from academia, industry, and government were in attendance and between 160-300 participants viewed each panel and plenary on the live-stream. The diversity of the participants made for animated discussions in person as well as on a live twitter feed (#cccbrain). It is a “hot” topic that is gaining even more interest with NSF’s recent Integrative Strategies for Understanding Neural and Cognitive Systems (NSF-NCS) solicitation.