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Welcome to ZOL 890 – the course formerly known as Design Principles of the Nervous System

This course is taught by Heather Eisthen (neuroscience) and Arend Hintze (computer something brain evolution) and is supposed to be an interdisciplinary discussion group to explore the frontier between neuroscience (NS), computer science (CS), and evolution. The course is intended for students in CS or NS who would like to expand their knowledge and skills to do research in this new and fascinating interdisciplinary field.

On the most basic level, we seek to teach neuroscience basics to computer scientists, and computational methods to biologist, and we try to find interesting interdisciplinary projects at this intersection.

In many discussions we find that both fields lag knowledge about the other which leads to oversimplified abstractions, strange research approaches, and the ill use of computational methods. We are constantly surprised at what low level things are overlooked or ignored. While bio-inspired engineering seams to be very successful, we think that computational modeling is underutilized to better understand the function and evolution of the nervous system, and that there is a plethora of open research questions that just wait to be discovered. This course tries to remedy this.

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