What makes brains smarter than computers?

18 Feb 2009

Twenty-four of Australia’s most talented undergraduate and postgraduate students are coming to UQ this week for a unique course about modelling the brain.

The “QBI Short Course in Computational Neuroscience” is specifically designed to introduce students studying maths, physics, engineering and computer science to how they can use their specialist skills in neuroscience research.

The course has been organised by Associate Professor Geoff Goodhill, a neuroscientist with UQ's Queensland Brain Institute and the School of Mathematics and Physics.

Dr Goodhill said there continued to be an urgent need to attract more people with skills in mathematics to work on understanding how the brain works at a fundamental level.

“Neuroscience is data rich but theory poor,” he said.

“We need to attract more people to the field who have the technical skills necessary to quantitatively analyse and model that data.”

Practical applications of such approaches include improved therapies for restoring brain wiring after injury and developing better decoding algorithms for converting brain activity into instructions for moving prosthetic limbs.

“I was overwhelmed with the response to the workshop,” Dr Goodhill said.

“We got more than twice as many applications as we could accommodate. Many of the students who were selected have won distinguished awards in their fields.  They have a lot to offer to computational neuroscience and computational neuroscience has a lot of fascinating problems to offer them.”

Dr Goodhill and several of his QBI colleagues will brief the students on some of the latest research in computational neuroscience and engineering.

“QBI’s support of this course shows it is committed to bringing together researchers from the biological and more quantitative sciences,” Dr Goodhill said.

“This is very important for the future of biological research both in Australia and internationally.

The two-day course runs from 19 to 20 February.


For more information, please contact:
QBI Communications Office
Tel: +61 7 3346 6434

Notes to the Editor


The Queensland Brain Institute was formed in 2003 as part of the Queensland Government’s Smart State Initiative, building on a long history of neuroscience at The University of Queensland.  QBI is dedicated to understanding the molecular basis of brain function and applying this knowledge to the development of new therapeutics to treat brain and mental health disorders.