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Hunter to Participate in Major NSF Study on Artificial Intelligence

Susan L. Epstein, Hunter Professor of Computer Science, reported to President Jennifer Raab that Hunter College has been selected to participate in a major interdisciplinary study funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The $25 million grant was awarded to form the Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines, a consortium based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). An international team of researchers will apply principles and methods of neuroscience, cognitive science, and computer science as they study how the brain performs complex computations. 

The center will be one of three new NSF-funded research centers established this year, and will play a key role in the new Brain initiative - an effort by federal agencies and private partners to support and coordinate research to understand how human intelligence arises in the brain and how we may reproduce this behavior in machines and benefit from it.

The Center for Brains, Minds and Machines will partner with a range of institutions, among them Harvard, Stanford University, Hunter College, Cornell, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, University of Genoa, and Weizmann Institute of Science.

According to Professor Epstein, "Although Hunter will receive no direct funds from this grant, we will be active participants in ways that benefit both our students and faculty. The education and human resources objectives of the Center will offer a range of opportunities for Hunter students including a seminar series, workshops, collaborative research, and novel curricula.  There will be summer research opportunities for our undergraduates and extended visiting opportunities for our faculty. 

"Not only will this benefit our general student body, but it will also provide new opportunities for exceptional students. Just as the Quantitative Biology NIH grant to Hunter's Department of Computer Science and Biology has educated students in a new discipline and opened resources at MIT to some star Hunter students, we expect this new grant to produce a similar interdisciplinary education in the understanding of computational intelligence, one that ranges from neurobiology to electrical engineering. We all have so much to learn together."

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