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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

January 24, 2014

Speaker: Dr. Terry Stewart, Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience, Waterloo University

Title: Spaun: The World's First Simulated Brain Capable of Performing Cognitive Tasks

Abstract: Large-scale computer models of the brain have been getting a more and more advanced.  The Blue Brain project has modelled cortical columns at an unprecedented level of detail, and the IBM SyNAPSE project recently ran a model with 100 billion neurons (the same number as is found in the human brain).  In 2013, the EU Human Brain Project and the US BRAIN Initiative were announced, pledging billions of dollars to address the question of how billions of interacting neurons can result in human behaviour.  At the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience at the University of Waterloo, we have made the first step in this direction by building Spaun, a computational model with 2.5 million neurons, 60 billion synapses, 30 brain areas, a single eye, and a single arm.  It is capable of performing eight different tasks, including digit recognition, mental addition, recall of lists of numbers, and pattern completion.  While other models have more neurons, or have more detailed neurons, ours is the first to show complex realistic behaviour.  This model allows us to test theories of brain function in a more rigorous manner, and it also provides a novel framework for thinking about massively parallel computing.