Professor Wessel's proposal for the creation of a research and teaching cluster entitled "Towards a Synergy between Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience" has been accepted for funding by WashU's “Incubator for Transdisciplinary Futures” with a total funding amount of $337,500.
The convergence of machine learning and artificial intelligence, and brain sciences is creating a unique opportunity for transformational research into the understanding of how intelligence works. Given recent breakthrough discoveries in all three areas, this is the right time to invest in this area. Within the Incubator for Transdisciplinary Futures, eight faculty from Arts & Sciences will join forces with three engineering faculty and four from the School of Medicine.
Synergistically, mathematicians, scientists, engineers, and philosophers from nine different departments will advance insight into the mechanisms of artificial and biological intelligence. Without such insight, the targeted treatment of mental diseases in brains or the development of general artificial intelligence in neural networks will remain opaque.
Furthermore, to prepare the next generation of scholars for the fantastic challenge of investigating the mechanisms of general intelligence, faculty will create and co-teach a new combined undergraduate and graduate course connected to the synergy between artificial intelligence and neuroscience.
The treatment of mental diseases and the development of general artificial intelligence have the potential for a huge societal impact. From the beginning, our cluster will communicate with the regional industry to evaluate how the research resonates with commercial interest.
Ralf Wessel will serve as one of the faculty leads and Zohar Nussinov will also be working on this project.