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Simon Stringer


Departmental Lecturer

  • Director, Oxford Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence
  • Course Director for the MSc in Psychological Research Course

Theoretical neuroscience and artificial intelligence

Research Summary

I lead the Oxford Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence based within the Department of Experimental Psychology. Our laboratory houses a team of theoreticians, who are developing computer models of a range of different aspects of brain function. Our current research covers vision, spatial processing, motor function, language and consciousness. For example, one of the major research topics that we are exploring is how the primate visual system learns to make sense of complex natural scenes.

A number of the research programmes taking place within our laboratory involve collaborations with experimental laboratories across the university and at other leading UK institutions. The computer models that we are developing are needed to investigate and understand the neural and synaptic dynamics that underpin brain function. We hope that this work will help to inform biomedical research into neurological disorders, as well as inspire new techniques in artificial intelligence and robot control.

AI Summit 2016 in London

Dr Stringer discusses strong AI and recent advances in neuroscience that might make it possible:

"...Science is an exploratory activity- it’s creative- it’s a natural human instinct to try to understand the world and see what we can do and build wonderful engineering structures and wonderful art. The most extraordinary thing is the brain itself and consciousness itself. Our own sense of spiritual self-worth is based on this notion of consciousness. I think we’ll want to understand that always. I think that’s the driver that’s driving neuroscience today, including theoretical neuroscience, which is computer simulation of the brain."