Mind, Brains and Machines

Universidad Pompeu Fabra

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Mind, Brains and Machines

  • Host University

    Universidad Pompeu Fabra

  • Location

    Barcelona, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Anthropology, Biology, Psychology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    WEEK 1
    Session 1: Welcome and Introduction to the course
    The biology of the brain. How the brain works. The biological history of the brain.
    Session 2: A brief history of thinking machines. The nature of artificial brains. Approaches to artificial intelligence (AI). The timeline of AI.
    WEEK 2
    Session 3: The synapse and neural circuits. Elementary synaptic circuits: gates, lateral inhibition, feed-back and forward loops in real life.
    Session 4: The mechanization of thought. Early approaches to logic: From Aristotle to Ramon Llull. The laws of thought: from Boole to Turing. Symbolic logic and heuristics: Newell and Simon’s Logic Theorist.
    WEEK 3
    Session 5: The Allegory of the Cave and the Neurosciences. The logics of perception: the
    representation of the world. What are ideas made of? Where are concepts in the brain?
    Session 6: Neurons as logic elements. Neural networks and pattern recognition. The perceptron. Connectionism and parallel distributed processing. Distributed representation of concepts in neural networks.
    WEEK 4
    Session 7: Neuroscience and philosophy: the limits of knowledge. Science and belief.
    Session 8: Knowledge representation: semantic representations and semantic networks. Knowledge-based systems. Consulting and expert systems. Beliefs, uncertainty and Bayesian networks.
    WEEK 5
    Session 9: Nature and Nurture. Genes and culture. The biology of learning, what is in the brain before learning?
    Session 10: Supervised and unsupervised learning in neural networks. Reinforcement learning.
    Deep learning.
    WEEK 6
    Session 11: Mid-term exam
    Session 12: Vision and Art.
    WEEK 7
    Session 13: The rules of Art and the brain. Workshop: “Bring your own Artwork”.
    Session 14: Audition and Music. Workshop
    WEEK 8
    Session 15: Deeper into Learning. Recurrent networks and reservoir computing. Workshop
    Session 16: Deeper into Concept Representations. Deterministic chaos, dynamical attractors, and state-dependent computations. Workshop
    WEEK 9
    Session 17: Artificial intelligence and the arts: computational creativity.
    Session 18: General Discussion. Workshop: The debate on the human condition.
    WEEK 10
    Session 19: Chalk talks / student presentations
    Session 20: Chalk talks / student presentations
    WEEK 11
    Session 21: General Discussion and Pre-Exam Review
    Session 22: Final exam

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.


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