Andrew Saxe joins GCNU and SWC as Joint Group Leader
We are excited to announce that Andrew Saxe has been appointed Joint Group Leader at the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit and Sainsbury Wellcome Centre. His lab will focus on the theory of deep learning and its applications to phenomena in neuroscience and psychology.
“Neuroscience is a dusty frontier—for a theorist, that’s the draw. The basic concepts are still up for grabs. And ultimately, we’re studying ourselves—our inner worlds, our own unruly, frustrating, and occasionally sublime minds. It’s endlessly fascinating. Theories of learning are a unique leverage point, because learning underlies so much of our behaviour,” said Andrew Saxe.
“I’m deeply excited by the rich feedback loops between theory and experiment that are possible at the Gatsby and SWC. With new experimental methods, careful theory, and a lot of luck, maybe we’ll finally start compressing our knowledge of neuroscience into systematic quantitative principles. At any rate, I can think of no better place to try! The last century was arguably the century of physics, where we began to understand our outer world; this next century could be the century of neuroscience, where we finally understand our inner worlds.”
Andrew Saxe’s Theory of Learning Lab will strive to develop a mathematical toolkit suitable for analysing and describing learning in the brain and mind. Alongside studying the theory of deep learning, the lab will collaborate closely with experimentalists to empirically test principles of learning in biological organisms.
Professor Tom Otis, SWC Chief Scientific Officer, said: “Andrew’s work is at the forefront of developing new theories of learning that unite computational and experimental neuroscience. We are delighted that he has brought his exciting programme to GCNU/SWC.”
Professor Maneesh Sahani, GCNU Director, added: “Andrew brings a perspective on learning and neural computation that fits perfectly within the Gatsby Unit and SWC, and a dynamism that will bring us all closer together. We're looking forward to working together on some of the most compelling open questions around both machine and natural intelligence.”
Andrew was previously an Associate Professor in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. He completed a Swartz Postdoctoral Fellowship in Theoretical Neuroscience at Harvard University with Haim Sompolinsky, and completed his PhD in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, advised by Jay McClelland, Surya Ganguli, Andrew Ng, and Christoph Schreiner. His dissertation received the Robert J. Glushko Dissertation Prize from the Cognitive Science Society. He was awarded a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust and Royal Society, and the Wellcome-Beit Prize. He is also a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar in the CIFAR Learning in Machines & Brains programme.
To find out more visit the Saxe lab page.