Professor Michael Milford

Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, Garden Point Campus, Brisbane

Title: "Navigation, Neuroscience and Neural Networks: A Quest to Understand Intelligence and Build Better Robots"


The goal of my research is to understand the fundamental nature of intelligence, so that we can both shed light on how the brain functions, and create intelligent, autonomous systems that transform society. My group models and mimics the neural mechanisms and behaviours underlying those most tangible aspects of intelligence such as navigation, perception and recognition. Our inspiration? The amazing natural world around us, including rats, insects, primates and even humans. Our tools? Robots, algorithms, innovative sensing modalities, computational neuroscience and artificial neural networks of all types including deep nets, continuous attractors and even spiking networks.

This talk will cover the highlights and lowlights of that journey, the advances made, the insights gained, and touch on where we are headed now. I’ll summarize a roboticist’s perspective on the neuroscience underlying one of the most well understood aspects of intelligence – spatial intelligence and perception – and describe how we have adapted this knowledge to create landmark robotics advances including RatSLAM’s mapping of an entire suburb using only a low cost webcam and persistent long term robot navigation autonomy trials.

I’ll describe our extensive work in creating robotic perception and navigation algorithms, both algorithmic (SeqSLAM) and bio-inspired, that function under even the most challenging of environmental conditions. I’ll also give an example of how research can transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries, showing how robotics, neuroscience and deep learning can come together to create new techniques for data compression. Finally I’ll highlight how we are translating fundamental transdisciplinary science into applications including autonomous vehicles, environmental monitoring and vision-based positioning.



About Neuroscience Seminars

Neuroscience seminars at the QBI play a major role in the advancement of neuroscience in the Asia-Pacific region. The primary goal of these seminars is to promote excellence in neuroscience through the exchange of ideas, establishing new collaborations and augmenting partnerships already in place.

Seminars in the QBI Auditorium on Level 7 are held on Wednesdays at 12-1pm, which are sometimes simulcast on Zoom (with approval from the speaker). We also occassionally hold seminars from international speakers via Zoom. The days and times of these seminars will vary depending on the time zone of the speaker. Please see each seminar listed below for details. 


Neuroscience Seminars archive 2005-2018