Mapping our intelligence

10 November 2010

Professor Karl Friston
Professor Karl Friston

Powerful advances in 'functional imaging', or the detailed visualising of the extraordinarily complex human brain, was the catalyst behind a series of recent showcase events involving visiting distinguished neuroscientist, Professor Karl Friston.

Dr Friston was a guest during a week of events convened by the Centre for Research in Intelligent Systems (CRIS).

In a first for Monash, Professor Friston spoke as part of a collaborative 'Three Deans' address hosted by the Deans of Information Technology, Arts, and Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences.

Director of CRIS, Professor Geoff Webb said Professor Friston was at the forefront of research that maps the brain's complex neural networks and electric pathways, which 'artificial' neural networks applied in computational science attempt to replicate to advance artificial intelligence.

"There is great potential for Monash researchers to develop their knowledge of computational neuroscience, mathematical computational modelling applied to brain imaging, to improve the diagnosis of physiologically-based brain disorders caused by accident, ageing or illness," Professor Webb said.

"Professor Friston has been accredited with Statistical Parametric Mapping, a current international standard for analysing imaging data and Voxel-Based Morphometry which focuses on task-related regions of the brain. Also, dynamic causal modelling, which includes states of time, and probability to infer the interacting system architecture of the brain."

"Professor Friston is an innovative thinker about how the brain works and how we produce thoughts, and is highly respected for his theories of disconnection schizophrenia," Professor Ed Byrne said.

Dr Friston said his visit to Monash was a celebration of a very exciting time, strategically and historically, with the University's plans to develop large-scale human neuroimaging.