Mind, Brains and Machines
Universidad Pompeu Fabra
Area of Study
Anthropology, Biology, Psychology
Taught In English
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4
Hours & Credits
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Session 11: Mid-term exam
Session 12: Vision and Art.
Session 13: The rules of Art and the brain. Workshop: “Bring your own Artwork”.
Session 14: Audition and Music. Workshop
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
Session 17: Artificial intelligence and the arts: computational creativity.
Session 18: General Discussion. Workshop: The debate on the human condition.
Session 19: Chalk talks / student presentations
Session 20: Chalk talks / student presentations
Session 21: General Discussion and Pre-Exam Review
Session 22: Final exam
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.