The Initiative for Computation in Brain and Mind has launched at Brown with a campuswide contest. Entrants will compete on the playing fields of software and statistical analysis to discern what human subjects were seeing and thinking when they produced a data set of brainwaves gathered by EEG electrodes. “The Initiative brings together multiple departments, students, and faculty with a common interest in using computational methods and theories to understand the brain, the mind, and the relationship between the two,” said Michael Frank, associate professor of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences. “We plan to engender a sense of community so that researchers studying different subfields of computation (in different departments) will be exposed to a wider range of techniques and ideas, which we hope will enrich their own research pursuits.” In addition to the contest, the initiative will host a lecture series and plans an annual workshop and a master’s degree program. But the first step is the contest, in which entrants could advance the progress of the field. “We do know that it is possible to decode percepts, or what a subject was attending to, better than chance by analyzing their EEG data, but we don’t know how much better we could do with more sophisticated methods,” Frank said. “There is much room for innovation at many levels of data analysis and processing, so it will be fun and exciting to see what Brown can do.”Read more