Wiretapping the Brain – Terry Sejnowski (Salk Institute)

April 20, 2004 all-day

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Blind source separation — also called the cocktail party problem — has recently been solved using Independent Component Analysis. This new signal processing technique has allowed us to eavesdrop onto the brains internal communication systems.

Terrence Sejnowski is an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a Professor at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies where he directs the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory. He is also Professor of Biological Sciences and Adjunct Professor in the Departments of Physics, Neurosciences, Psychology, Cognitive Science, and Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, where he is Director of the Institute for Neural Computation. Dr. Sejnowski received B.S. in physics from the Case-Western Reserve University, M.A. in physics from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University in 1978. From 1978-1979 Dr. Sejnowski was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at Princeton University and from 1979-1982 he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. In 1982 he joined the faculty of the Department of Biophysics at the Johns Hopkins University, where he achieved the rank of Professor before moving to San Diego in 1988. He has had a long-standing affiliation with the California Institute of Technology, as a Wiersma Visiting Professor of Neurobiology in 1987, as a Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar in 1993 and as a part-time Visiting Professor 1995-1998. Dr. Sejnowski received a Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1984. He received the Wright Prize from the Harvey Mudd College for excellence in interdisciplinary research in 1996 and the Hebb Prize for his contributions to learning algorithms by the International Neural Network Society in 1999. He became a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in 2000 and received their Neural Network Pioneer Award in 2002. In 2003 he was elected to the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars. In 1989, Dr. Sejnowski founded Neural Computation, published by the MIT Press, the leading journal in neural networks and computational neuroscience. He is also the President of the Neural Information Processing Systems Foundation, a non-profit organization that oversees the annual NIPS Conference. This interdisciplinary meeting brings together researchers from many disciplines, including biology, physics, mathematics and engineering. The long-range goal Dr. Sejnowskis research is to build linking principles from brain to behavior using computational models. This goal is being pursued with a combination of theoretical and experimental approaches at several levels of investigation ranging from the biophysical level to the systems level. Hippocampal and cortical slice preparations are being used to explore the properties of single neurons and synapses. Biophysical models of electrical and chemical signal processing within neurons are used as an adjunct to physiological experiments. The dynamics of network models are studied to explore how populations of neurons interact during states of alertness and sleep. His laboratory has developed new methods for analyzing the sources for electrical and magnetic signals recorded from the scalp and hemodynamic signals from functional brain imaging.

Center for Language and Speech Processing