Jeff Orchard

Associate Professor
David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science
University of Waterloo
Neurocognitive Computing Lab
Core Member
Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience

I recently got back from a 6-month sabbatical, visiting the International Centre for Neuromorphic Systems at Western Sydney University, Australia.

I’ve been interested in the brain – and how it governs our behaviour – since high school. Naturally, I went to university to study math (*sarcasm). I spent some time doing research in image processing and medical imaging, but eventually returned to my passion, the brain.

But enough about me… let’s talk about me.

In my view, computer science plays an essential role in understanding the brain, understanding the patterns that emerge from the interactions of millions or billions of simple computing units (neurons).

The ultimate goal is to find something akin to “the theory of evolution” for the brain. Evolution uses a small number of simple mechanisms to explain the vast diversity of living things, and their relationships. In neuroscience, we seek a small set of simple mechanistic rules that govern the development and operation of the brain, resulting in cognition and complex behaviours.

My students and I form the Neurocognitive Computing Lab. Through computational experiments and mathematical analysis, we try to understand the neurological basis of perception, cognition, and behaviour.

Note: If you intend to have me review some of your writing (like a thesis or report), you should be aware of the most common mistakes that I see in technical writing. These are things that I will point out when reading your manuscript. Okay, you’ve been warned.

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