Why do healthy brains outperform the best computers?
Our brains can outperform the best computers at recognizing faces, controlling sophisticated movements and learning about the environment—but we still do not know why. Enter Dr. Chris Eliasmith, Canada Research Chair in Theoretical Neuroscience, who is developing a mathematical theory to help understand how brains process information.
Eliasmith hopes to apply his theory to a wide variety of systems in specific parts of the brain. He is doing so by building biologically-realistic models that are involved in perception, motor control and several aspects of cognition.
The models will pave the way for a much deeper understanding of how the many parts of the brain work together.
That deeper understanding of the inter-relatedness of the brain will also lead to better understanding of forms of brain damage and unhealthy brains. In both Parkinson’s disease and addiction, a core brain system malfunctions. Eliasmith’s research will help understand precisely how the brain system breaks down.
Eliasmith’s work may not only lead to a better understanding of how the healthy brain can perform its dazzling array of tasks, but also of how damaged or diseased brains may be sped along the road of recovery.