Orthogonal Research and Education Laboratory is seeking to further develop the Representational Brains and Phenotypes project by building scientific simulations for deployment in basic research and educational outreach. We aim to construct a dynamical simulation involving several types of Braitenberg vehicle as described by the neuroscientist Valentino Braitenberg in his classic book "Vehicles: experiments in synthetic Psychology" (1984). Come be a part of bringing these thought experiments to life!
These simulations will involve building a virtual model of a vehicle, complete with the body, sensors, effectors, and internal neural wiring. Simulating changes in the wiring based on environmental stimuli and bodily constraints is the most important part of the model, as we seek to go beyond Braitenberg’s original vision and incorporate the construction of highly complex nervous systems (neuronal networks). As an applicant, you will propose a way to create a robust and efficient simulation. The project mentor will provide extensive feedback throughout the process.
The first part of the project will involve constructing a simulation of the vehicles, while the second part will involve a simulation of the neuronal network (formation, consolidation, and deletion of connections). A successful project will propose a method for neuronal network simulation, whether that be a neural network, a genetic algorithm, or a hybrid model. The finished product will be used for the study of animal connectomes, educational simulations, and guiding physical robot design.
Open source development experience with C++, Python, Java. An interest in the underlying biological processes is essential. Applicants with strong abstract thinking abilities are preferred, as is previous background and/or interest in Cognitive Science research. Good communication skills and familiarity with open science practices are expected.
Mentor: Bradly Alicea