For over two millennia, philosophers and scientists have sought to understand the workings of the brain. Today, interest is greater than ever, with a huge volume of experimental work taking place in laboratories around the world. Due to the brain's immense complexity, however, powerful computer modelling techniques are now required to make sense of the experimental data and reveal the underlying processing principles of the brain.
The Oxford Foundation for Theoretical Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence has been established to further the development of advanced mathematical and computer modelling techniques in brain science. These models are needed to help scientists interpret experimental data and develop a detailed understanding of the processing principles used by the brain. This research will bring many practical benefits for mankind.
Uncovering the principles of the brain will inform biomedical research aimed at developing new treatments for neurological disorders such as amblyopia, depression and Alzheimer's disease. At the same time, understanding how the brain works will lead to major advances in artificial intelligence, from automated manufacturing to software entertainment. As progress is made in modelling brain function, we will explore how this knowledge may be used in various application areas.
The Foundation is an independent registered charity that aims to raise funds for teaching and research in theoretical neuroscience at Oxford. The foundation is currently supporting a computer modelling centre headed by Dr Simon Stringer within the Oxford University Department of Experimental Psychology. Computer modellers within the university centre are working closely with experimental neuroscientists to develop detailed computer models of brain processes such as vision and navigation. This theoretical work complements experimental brain research taking place in Oxford and at other institutions around the world.