Research and Publications
This page has information about my research interests. My daily life consists of coming up with ways of convincing people they should call me doctor because I know about these topics.
- Information Theory in complex neural systems
- Integrated Information Theory
- Bayesian nonparametrics
- Agency, adaptivity and rationality
Complex systems are just tremendously interesting. Emergent collective behaviour, phase transitions and self-organized criticality are just examples of how fascinating big assemblies of interacting elements are.
Part of my research aims at refining some of the notions behind this idea of distributed computation, in particular how it applies to neural and brainy systems.
Integrated Information Theory (IIT) is an emerging branch of theoretical neuroscience whose main purpose is to explain and quantify conscious experience.
Together with Adam Barrett and Michael Schartner from University of Sussex, we're taking a critical look at the current status of IIT and its possibilities as a practical index of consciousness.
Parametric models are in general quick to train and easy to understand. However, the data rarely follow the parametric form we impose on the model, which hinders the reliability of parametric modelling. In particular, making scientific inference based on parametric models (as is common in neuroscience).
I'm very interested in nonparametric Bayesian models, which enjoy absolute flexibility, great data efficiency and proper handling of uncertainty; and make only very weak assumptions on the data. This makes them very suitable for the analysis of experimental data and particularly effective in many machine learning problems.
Brains are beyond any doubt very complex devices. There are other systems that exhibit complex behaviour. So, what is the fundamental difference between a brain and other complex systems? What kinds of physical substrate or computational processes give rise to self-awareness, agency and rationality?
Together with Simon McGregor from University of Sussex, we're looking into the philosophy of and fundamental problems with the definition of agency, adaptivity and rationality from a physicalist standpoint.