The new Center for Brains, Minds and Machines, a National Science Foundation-funded center on the interdisciplinary study of intelligence, is starting to gain momentum. Last month the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT hosted an introductory seminar and reception for the new Center. Investigators from MIT and Harvard gave presentations of their research plans to the wider scientific community.
In addition to collaborative research, the CBMM plans to develop a community of researchers via programs such as an intensive summer school and technical workshops that will train the next generation of scientists and engineers in an emerging new field -- the Science and Engineering of Intelligence. This new field will catalyze cross-fertilization between computer science, math and statistics, robotics, neuroscience, and cognitive science.
The first such workshop will be held in collaboration with the Center’s international partner, the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT). The workshop is titled “Learning Data Representation: Hierarchies and Invariance” and will take place at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT from Nov. 22-24.
The goal of the meeting is to investigate advances and challenges in learning "good representations" from data, in particular representations that can reduce the complexity of later supervised learning stages. The meeting will gather experts in the field to discuss current and future challenges for the theory and applications of learning representations. It is hoped that the meeting may mark the beginning of a new phase in machine learning where it is possible to develop algorithms capable of learning like humans. In this novel framework, instead of very large sets of labeled data (big data), learning needs only very small sets of labeled examples — a new small data paradigm.