Colloquium Cognitive Systems

Neurorobotics: Connecting the Brain, Body and Environment

Prof. Jeff Krichmar, Ph.D. (Dept of Cognitive Sciences, UC Irvine)


Abstract: Neurorobots are robots whose control has been modeled after some aspect of the brain. Since the brain is so closely coupled to the body and situated in the environment, neurorobots can be a powerful tool for studying neural function in a holistic fashion. It may also be a means to develop autonomous systems that have some level of biological intelligence. In this talk, I discuss a number of principles to consider when designing neurorobots and experiments using robots to test brain theories. These principles are strongly inspired by Pfeifer and Bongard’s design principles for intelligent agents. We will build upon these design principles by grounding them in neurobiology and by adding principles based on neuroscience research. We highlight the importance in neurorobotics for designing systems that are reactive, adaptive, predictive, able to manage behavioral tradeoffs, and capable of learning from experience.

Bio: Jeffrey L. Krichmar received a B.S. in Computer Science in 1983 from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, a M.S. in Computer Science from The George Washington University in 1991, and a Ph.D. in Computational Sciences and Informatics from George Mason University in 1997. He spent 15 years as a software engineer on projects ranging from the PATRIOT Missile System at the Raytheon Corporation to Air Traffic Control for the Federal Systems Division of IBM. From 1999 to 2007, he was a Senior Fellow in Theoretical Neurobiology at The Neurosciences Institute. He currently is a professor in the Department of Cognitive Sciences and the Department of Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine. Krichmar has nearly 20 years’ experience designing adaptive algorithms, creating neurobiologically plausible network simulations, and constructing brain-based robots whose behavior is guided by neurobiologically inspired models. He has over 100 publications and holds 7 patents. His work has been funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research. Additionally, he has worked with industry on sponsored research contracts from Qualcomm, Northrup Grumman Corporation, and Toyota Motor North America. His research interests include neurorobotics, embodied cognition, biologically plausible models of learning and memory, neuromorphic applications and tools, and the effect of neural architecture on neural function. He is a Senior Member of IEEE and the Society for Neuroscience.