Learn how to create artificial information systems that mimic biological systems as well as how to use theoretical insights from AI to better understand cognitive processing in humans.
The human brain is a hugely complex machine that is able to perform tasks that are vastly beyond current capabilities of artificial systems. Understanding the brain has always been a source of inspiration for developing artificially intelligent agents and has led to some of the defining moments in the history of AI. At the same time, theoretical insights from artificial intelligence provide new ways to understand and probe neural information processing in biological systems.
On the one hand, the Master’s in Computation in Neural and Artificial Systems addresses how models based on neural information processing can be used to develop artificial systems, probing of human information processing in closed-loop online settings, as well as the development of new machine learning techniques to better understand human brain function.
On the other hand it addresses various ways of modelling and understanding cognitive processing in humans. These range from abstract mathematical models of learning that are derived from Bayesian statistics, complexity theory and optimal control theory to neural information processing systems such as neural networks that simulate particular cognitive functions in a biologically inspired manner. We also look at new groundbreaking areas in the field of AI, like brain computer interfacing and deep learning.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/ai/computation
Why study Computation in Neural and Artificial Systems at Radboud University?
- Our cognitive focus leads to a highly interdisciplinary AI programme where students gain skills and knowledge from a number of different areas such as mathematics, computer science, psychology and neuroscience combined with a core foundation of artificial intelligence.
- Together with the world-renowned Donders Institute, the Behavioural Science Institute and various other leading research centres in Nijmegen, we train our students to become excellent researchers in AI.
- Master’s students are free to use the state-of-the-art facilities available on campus, like equipment for brain imaging as EEG, fMRI and MEG.
- Exceptional students who choose this specialisation have the opportunity to study for a double degree in Artificial Intelligence together with the specialisation in Brain Network and Neuronal Communication. This will take three instead of two years.
- This specialisation offers plenty of room to create a programme that meets your own academic and professional interests.
- To help you decide on a research topic there is a semi-annual Thesis Fair where academics and companies present possible project ideas. Often there are more project proposals than students to accept them, giving you ample choice. We are also open to any of you own ideas for research.
- Our AI students are a close-knit group; they have their own room in which they often get together to interact, debate and develop their ideas. Every student also receives personal guidance and supervision from a member of our expert staff.
The programme is closely related to the research carried out in the internationally renowned Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour. This institute has several unique facilities for brain imaging using EEG, fMRI and MEG. You will be able to use these facilities for developing new experimental research techniques, as well as for developing new machine learning algorithms to analyse the brain data and integrate them with brain-computer interfacing systems.
Some examples of possible thesis subjects:
- Deep learning
Recent breakthroughs in AI have led to the development of artificial neural networks that achieve human level performance in object recognition. This has led companies like Google and Facebook to invest a lot of research in this technology. Within the AI department you can do research on this topic. This can range from developing deep neural networks to map and decode thoughts from human brain activity to the development of speech recognition systems or neural networks that can play arcade games.
- Brain Computer Interfacing
Brain computer interfaces are systems which decode a users mental state online in real-time for the purpose of communication or control. An effective BCI requires both neuro-scientific insight (which mental states should we decode?) and technical expertise (which measurement systems and decoding algorithms should be used?). A project could be to develop new mental tasks that induce stronger/easier to decode signals, such as using broadband stimuli. Another project could be to develop new decoding methods better able to tease a weak signal from the background noise, such as adaptive-beam forming. Results for both would assessed by performing empirical studies with target users in one of the EEG/MEG/fMRI labs available in the institute.
Our Artificial Intelligence graduates have excellent job prospects and are often offered a job before they have actually graduated. Many of our graduates go on to do a PhD either at a major research institute or university with an AI department. Other graduates work for companies interested in cognitive design and research. Examples of companies looking for AI experts with this specialisation: Google, Facebook, IBM, Philips and the Brain Foundation. Some students have even gone on to start their own companies.
Examples of jobs that a graduate of the specialisation in Computation in Neural and Artificial Systems could get:
- PhD researcher on bio-inspired computing
- PhD researcher on neural decoding
- PhD researcher on neural information processing
- Machine learning expert in a software company
- Company founder for brain-based computer games
- Hospital-based designer of assistive technology for patients
- Policy advisor on new developments in neurotechnology
- Software developer for analysis and online visual displays of brain activity
Half of your second year consists of an internship, giving you plenty of hands-on experience. We encourage students to do this internship abroad, although this is not mandatory. We do have connections with companies abroad, for example in China, Sweden and the United States.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/ai/computation
This programme involves studying the interaction between and within groups of neurons in the brain, and how they affect our interactions with the outside world.
The brain is no longer considered a passive response device but rather as a network in which we consider ongoing activity before, during, and after a stimulus. The specialisation Brain Networks and Neuronal Communication deals with brain networks; ranging from the smallest scale, the communication between individual neurons, to the largest scale, communication between different brain areas. Using advanced mathematical tools, this specialisation prepares students for cutting-edge neuroscience research.
Students interested in this specialisation are expected to already have a high level of mathematical skills and/or training in physics, engineering or computer science in their Bachelor’s studies.
A large majority of our graduates gain a PhD position, while other graduates find jobs in the commercial sector or at research institutes. Graduates of this specialisation may more readily find a position within a government institution or specialised companies (e.g. in the pharmaceutical industry).
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/cns/brain
- Researchers in Nijmegen combine new techniques for electrophysiological and anatomical measurements of connectivity and activation with data analysis and the experimental application of these techniques. This is done in studies of cognition in not just humans but also non-human primates and rodents.
- Exceptional students who choose this specialisation have the opportunity to do a double degree programme with either Neuroscience or Artificial Intelligence. This will take three instead of two years.
- This competitive programme provides a sound balance of theory and practice. Our selective approach guarantees excellence, especially during the research training period.
If you have successfully completed the Master’s programme in Brain networks and neuronal communication, you will be able to conduct independent neuroimaging and neurobiological research. You will have ample knowledge of the anatomical and neurophysiological aspects of networks in the human brain and the techniques for the computational analysis and modeling of brain networks. This will enable you to conduct independent research into the neurofunctional architecture of key cognitive functions, such as perception, attention, memory, language, planning and targeted actions and develop technologies to measure, characterise and model networks at the whole brain and/or the local cortical circuit level. With this educational background you should be able to find a position with one of the research institutes in the Netherlands or abroad, government institutions or specialised companies (e.g. in the pharmaceutical industry).
Research in the field of cognitive neuroscience is one of the spearheads in the research policy of Radboud University. Here, in Nijmegen, hundreds of scientists from various faculties and top institutes have joined forces to unravel the workings of the human brain, step by step . They work together closely, exchange expertise and share state-of-the-art research equipment.
Nijmegen is one of the foremost centres of cognitive neuroscience in the world. We have a high admission threshold to ensure that all of our students are highly motivated and have the ability to work at an advanced level. Top scientists screen all applications to make sure the new students meet our stringent entry criteria and can maintain the current standards of excellence. Once admitted to the programme, you can expect to be trained as a multidisciplinary scientist in the following two years. The research you will undertake addresses crossdisciplinary challenges. The teachers and supervisors you will meet are all experts in their own disciplines. We hope that with this programme, you will outperform your teachers by being able to combine knowledge from different domains. Alongside language processing and perceptuomotor systems, you may also help improve brain/computer interfaces, a hot topic with applications in medicine and information technology. Apart from being very exciting, it is also logical that various disciplines are merging. After all, everything that happens in the brain is interconnected. In Nijmegen we develop sophisticated cognitive models which we test by means of state-of-the-art imaging techniques, thanks to which you can participate in cutting-edge research that will hopefully lead to new insights into the way the human brain and mind work. Finally, we offer our best CNS students excellent career opportunities in challenging PhD projects.
- Unique multi-disciplinary Master’s programme
Are you also interested in the human brain? Would you like to conduct research into the workings of the brain and join an enthusiastic, international group of top researchers? The Radboud University offers a multi-faculty Master’s programme in Cognitive Neuroscience. The programme takes two years and is of a scientific orientation. There is a strong emphasis on experimental research. This Master’s programme is unique in Europe.
The Master’s programme in Cognitive Neuroscience is primarily focused on training you as a researcher because research institutes and businesses around the world desperately need highly qualified and motivated young researchers. Moreover, since cognitive neuroscience is a rather young discipline, much in this field has not yet been explored. There are many challenging questions that need to be answered. So there is plenty of room for new discoveries!
This competitive programme provides a sound balance of theory and practice. We enroll about 50 students per year. Our selective approach guarantees excellence, especially during the research training period.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/cns/brain