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‘We Managed to Bring Together Specialists in AI, Pure Mathematics, and Neurobiology’

‘We Managed to Bring Together Specialists in AI, Pure Mathematics, and Neurobiology’

© HSE University

In early September, the HSE University Faculty of Computer Science hosted the international conference Computer Methods of Cognitome Analysis. The event was organised by the International Laboratory of Algebraic Topology and Its Applications at the faculty.

The cognitome is a representation of the brain as a neuronal hypernetwork structure. The dynamics of this structure reflect the functioning of consciousness. The main focus of the conference was the study and analysis of neural circuit dynamics at the cellular level during spatial navigation and episodic memory tasks, as well as their modelling using high-performance and neuromorphic computing units.

A total of 260 people from ten countries registered for the conference, with half of them taking part remotely. The first day was held fully online, while the second and third took place in a hybrid format.

Konstantin Sorokin, Organiser of the conference

‘Many breakthroughs in science have been made at the intersection of disciplines, and neuroscience is very promising in this respect. Konstantin Anokhin, who proposed the idea of the cognitome, shares this belief. A few years ago, he started to engage mathematicians and theoretical physicists in a discussion of the structure of consciousness. Anokhin’s ideas and support inspired this conference, and he himself gave a presentation at it.

As far as I know, this was the first conference dedicated to the cognitome, as well as one of the first to target mathematicians, physicists and computer science researchers.

One important outcome of the conference was attracting promising new industries to the Faculty of Computer Science. One such industry is neuromorphic technologies, which has uses in neurobiology, can improve the effectiveness of machine learning tasks, and has industrial applications.

We managed to bring together specialists in AI, pure mathematics, and neurobiology on a single platform. This was possible thanks to the Faculty of Computer Science, and I believe that scientists from various fields were able to interact on a new level, including an international one. Some pure mathematicians were fascinated by the use and development of hypernetwork theory in neurobiology, having not known much about such research previously.

I was delighted at the attention paid to our studies by young people and the active party around our subject after the conference. We continue to stay in touch, discuss science news, and share interesting events.’

Roman Karpenok, 2nd-year doctoral student of the MSU Department of the Physiology of Higher Nervous Activity

‘The conference, atmosphere, and organisation were wonderful. It was perfectly suited to research teams and individual scientists alike, and the atmosphere lent itself to professional communication.

It struck a balance between interdisciplinarity and professionalism. During the breaks, everyone habitually and perfectly organised themselves into discussion groups on the topics of research.

The most useful thing for me was learning more about formal concepts and neuromorphic technologies, simply because accurate and fast methods are needed. However, I got the impression that the other presentations aroused just as much interest in the audience.

This subject area is very much unresolved and requires intellect, effort, and more conferences like this one.’

Alexandra Bernadotte, NeuroSputnik

‘I had the honour of giving a big presentation at this event, which was organised by my friend and colleague Konstantin Sorokin. Subjectively, it was the best conference of my life. The conversations were very lively, intelligent, and healthy. When I asked Kostya how he managed to achieve this, he answered “I chose those kinds of participants”. I think that is an interesting approach. When we get together, we want to not only give formal presentations, but to talk with like-minded people and discuss topics that are difficult to find people to talk to about.’

A playlist of the conference presentations is available here.

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