Monday, August 29, 2016

UW Data Science for Social Good: Training students to use data-driven research for societal benefit

Data Science for Social Good (DSSG), a summer program at UW's eScience Institute, partners up interdisciplinary student teams with professional data scientists and subject-matter experts to tackle social issues that really matter. This year the theme was "Urban Science"—so for ten weeks, four teams with students from around the country combined data, tools, and programming to tackle urban problems such as family homelessness, transit bus services, community-well being, and sidewalk mapping for accessible route planning. The results are quite impressive.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Our brains help us navigate by using a compressed code for what we see when we move

Neurons in a brain area known as the medial superior temporal (MST) area play a major role in visually guided navigation, as they are experts at analyzing the moving patterns of light we see when moving through the environment (called "optic flow"). Some neurons respond to a specific direction of travel ("heading"), so that we always know where we're going. However, more often than not, MST responses are complex and non-intuitive, making it hard to understand how these neurons operate.

A new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience now challenges the way we think about MST. Rather than serving specific behavioral functions, such as encoding heading, neurons in MST might simply be trying to find a compressed representation of all possible, naturally occurring optic flow patterns—such that self-motion analysis is always both accurate and efficient. Let me explain what that means, and why you should care.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Neuroscience (June/July 2016)

In the latest issue of this monthly digest series you can learn what marijuana has to do with Alzheimer's, what old monkeys and old humans have in common, why it's ok to forget stuff, and much more.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Computer Vision, Machine Learning, and AI (June/July 2016)

In this digest you can hear Donald Trump sing about Obama, learn how machine learning can help autism screening, get the latest updates from the ICML and CVPR conferences, and much more.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Neuroscience (May 2016)

In the fifth issue of this monthly digest series you can learn about the neurobiology of love, how long-term marijuana use alters the brain's reward circuit, what nightmares say about your personality, and much more.