Shervin Safavi Group
Computational Machinery of Cognition
The overarching research theme of the CMC lab is understanding the computational machinery of cognitive processes. Cognition spans a wide range of functions (from perception to planning), and it is one of the most remarkable capabilities of the brain. In CMC lab, we want to understand the computations underlying cognitive processes, and the biophysical machinery that implement these computations. Imagine we go to a restaurant and want to order a dish. For such decisions brain needs to take into account several factors: how much we like each option, how much we want to explore new options, how pricey they are, … There is much computation going on in our brain to sort out each of those questions. And, in the end, all is happening in a piece of wet machinery (brain). We want to understand how our brain does those computations and how they are implemented (biophysics of computations).
We do biophysical and normative modeling (with the goal of combining them) to understand the cognitive functions; we will test these models with neural and behavioral data (in collaboration with experimental labs); and we will develop machine learning methods for multi- and cross-scale analysis of neural data to first better understand the multi-scale machinery of the brain, and second better capture the neural markers of underlying cognitive (sub-)processes and ultimately connect them to underlying computations.
At the moment, we are pursuing our key goal through the following research program:
- CMPD: Computational Machinery of Perceptual Decision-making
- MNBD: Multi-scale analysis of Neural and Behavioral Data
- CFDN: Criticality in Functional and Dysfunctional Neural Systems
- HNNC: Hybrid Neural Networks for Cognitive Neuroscience
Future Projects and Goals
In CMC we want to understand the computations that support our cognition, and also the multi-scale machinery (genes, neurons, …, large-scale networks) that implements these computations. We closely collaborate with experimental and computational labs to develop new tools, computational models, and experimental paradigms to understand the computational machinery of cognition.
Methodological and Technical Expertise
- Computational Neuroscience
- Neural data science
- Computational psychiatry
- Signal processing
- Machine learning