The Center for Computational Brain Research (CCBR) at Indian Institute of Technology Madras is conducting a Winter Course on Machine Intelligence and Brain Research from 2 to 9 January 2019. This course is at the intersection of Neuroscience and Artificial intelligence. It aims to educate students in the interdisciplinary area by combining lectures from neuroscientists as well as computational researchers working across disciplines.
It is open to students outside IIT Madras for auditing. IIT Madras students are offered credits for this course. It also focusses on understanding the inner workings of the Human Brain and Intelligent Machines and understand the common underlying principles. Addressing the inaugural session, Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman, Axilor Ventures and Co-Founder, Infosys, said, “This is an area that has tremendous scope and opportunity to impact our lives. I believe in using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to address several problems that hitherto were unsolvable. We should look at issues such as understanding the use of AI and ML, which problems should be addressed, where do we use these tools, can we create the capacity and capability in these fields in India, can we create global partnerships and can we bring unique Indian views in this area.”
Kris Gopalakrishnan added, “AI and ML are the next wave of computing as they allow us to address a different set of problems, just like the advent of earlier digital computing. It is a new paradigm in computing. We have huge amounts of data and unless we have the tools, we cannot make sense of the data. it is humanly impossible to look at the data and draw inferences. We throw the computer at it and see what patterns it can make out. Cloud computing provides an almost infinite amount of computing and storage space. The workshop should also discuss issues surrounding privacy and algorithmic bias.”
The course was initiated in January 2018 and has seen strong growth in demand. Registrations for this year course topped 400 including 30 students from IIT Madras (out of 200 applications). This number is expected to increase during the coming years. Addressing the Winter Course, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, said, “This is an area in which a lot of capacity building is required in the country and these workshops are one way to build this capacity. Eminent researchers from across the world are attending this workshop and students can learn from them. In a short period of next few years, we will have good results to show from our work here. We have people who are becoming experts in this cutting-edge field.”
Speaking about the Winter Course, Prof. Partha Mitra, Crick-Clay Professor of Biomathematics at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, H N Mahabala Chair Professor, CCBR, IIT Madras, said, “The way we have set up this course is to pair the engineering lectures with the biological side so that we can look at them side by side. These two communities must interact with each other.”