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SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program. Additional AOs for the Amgen Scholars program can be found here.

Specific GROWTH projects being offerred for summer 2018 can be found here.

Each AO indicates whether or not it is open to non-Caltech students. If an AO is NOT open to non-Caltech students, please DO NOT contact the mentor.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

Students pursuing opportunities at JPL must be
U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

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Project:  Physical basis of consciousness: a computational project
Disciplines:  Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Engineering
Mentor:  Naotsugu Tsuchiya, Associate Professor, (HSS),, Phone: +61 3 9905 4564
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
Background:  NOTE: This project is being offered by a Caltech alumnus and will be conducted at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

The aim of this project is to empirically test a theory of consciousness. In this project, you will analyze the neural recordings from the brains of various animals, potentially from insects, mice, rats, monkeys, or humans, while their level of consciousness (from high awake states to low sleep or anesthetized states) and/or contents of consciousness (i.e., what they see and/or hear) are manipulated. We will use our novel framework to analyze the data, hypothesizing that level and contents of consciousness are directly related to the hierarchical patterns of causal interactions.
Description:  One of the most promising quantitative theories of consciousness is "integrated information theory". In essence, the theory predicts the isomorphism between the structure of conscious experience and the structure of causal interactions among physical substrates.

While the theory has attracted significant attraction in neuroscience (Tononi et al 2016 Nature Review Neuroscience), it's empirical testing has been still limited.

In our group, we have developed several ways to approximately computing the key quantity, called integrated information (Oizumi ... Tsuchiya 2016 PLoS Computational Biology & Oizumi,Tsuchiya Amari 2016 PNAS) and applied them to human intracranial recordings (Haun ... Tsuchiya 2017 eNeuro). We are currently extending this research into various directions.
References:  1) Integrated information theory

2) Measuring Integrated Information from the Decoding Perspective

3) Unified framework for information integration based on information geometry

4) Conscious Perception as Integrated Information Patterns in Human Electrocorticography
Student Requirements:  Extensive experience in Matlab and/or Python. Knowledge in probability theory, information theory, graph theory are welcomed. Neuroscience knowledge is not critical.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    Caltech students only 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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