How do our brains encompass the ability to think and reason, to perceive and remember, to choose among alternatives based on multiple contributing factors, and to plan and execute effective actions?
Unlocking the mysteries of the brain requires researchers from diverse fields, including neuroscience, psychology, computer science, engineering, physics and statistics, to bring their knowledge and experience together. At the Stanford Center for Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology, our researchers are probing how cognitive functions arise from the collective activity of neurons organized into networks within the brain.
We are generating new technologies to study the brain, creating computational methods to analyze increasingly complex data sets and developing new theories to understand how the brain works, and we are training the next generation of researchers probing how cognitive functions arise from the collective activity of neurons organized into networks within the brain. Graduate student trainees in our center are encouraged to stretch from their areas of expertise to learn new techniques, technologies and theories and to apply these new skills to investigations in neuroscience. The center encompasses faculty mentors who support the students through coursework and individualized learning, and a broader community of individuals with an interest in exploring the frontiers of neuroscience. As well as its two graduate student programs, the center also offers ongoing engaging community events.
History of the Center
The Center for Mind, Brain and Computation (MBC) began operations in 2007, under the leadership of Jay McClelland, Professor of Psychology. The center was dedicated to understanding how mental functions such as perceiving, understanding, thinking, feeling, and decision-making arise from neural processes in the brain. The purview of the center included the processes and mechanisms that underlie the development of these abilities, as well as disorders and diseases that affect them. Then, and today, the center fosters the integration of theoretical, computational and experimental approaches to these issues, in hopes of increasing understanding and fostering improved methods for enhancement of human potential and life satisfaction.
In September 2008, the center was funded by an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training grant from the National Science Foundation. During the five years of grant support, key program activities were developed, including the seminar series and annual symposium. Between 2007 and 2018, 81 graduate students were supported by the program, receiving enhanced integrative training and mentorship, as well as stipend, travel and/or lab expense funding.
In the summer of 2018, the center moved under the operations of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, and expanded to become the Center of Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology.
Beginning in fall 2018, the successful graduate program was expanded and enhanced to include a program focused on NeuroTech. Spearheaded by E.J. Chichilnisky, Professor of Neurosurgery and of Ophthalmology, NeuroTech is supported by a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship award. This training program enables PhD students from technical fields (including computational and quantitative disciplines) to enter the discipline of neuroscience, connecting technical developments in diverse fields with the most important problems in neuroscience today.