Tomaso A. Poggio, is the Eugene McDermott Professor at MIT and one of the most cited computational scientists. The citation for the 2009 Okawa prize mentions his “…outstanding contributions to the establishment of computational neuroscience, and pioneering research ranging from the biophysical and behavioral studies of the visual system to the computational analysis of vision and learning in humans and machines.” His recent work is on a theory of unsupervised learning of invariant representations forsupervised learning. The theory is relevant for the science and the technology of machine learning, vision and speech.
The dream of understanding the mind and the brain was at the core of several new fields created at MIT during the ‘50s and ‘60s. Information theory and cybernetics arose from the research of Shannon, Wiener, McCullogh, Pitts, Lettvin. Generative linguistics was launched by Noam Chomsky, Artificial Intelligence by Marvin Minsky, Seymour Papert and John McCarthy. David Marr was a pioneer in building the foundations of computational neuroscience and cognitive sciences. The same dream is now the main motivation for a new Center for Brains, Minds and Machines. I will describe our vision of interdisciplinary research bridging disciplines such as computer science, neuroscience and cognitive science on the topic of intelligence – the greatest problems in science and engineering and a key to our future as a society.