INSIGHT - Darwinian Neurodynamics


The INSIGHT-II proposal, prepared under the coordination of Professor Eörs Szathmáry, has received full support for its scientific content by FET OPEN. The consortium began work in March 2013.

Despite eminent and numerous attempts to understand complex thinking, insight problem solving and language acquisition, one is left with the feeling that an essential component of these processes is being overlooked. This project offers and elaborates the Neural Replicator Hypothesis (NRH) stating that this missing ingredient is true Darwinian neurodynamics of replicators within the brain itself. Previous related approaches have been: too sketchy, metaphorical, merely philosophical, or have used selection but not replication. INSIGHT-II is based on, and will refine, plausible neurobiological foundations of neuronal replicators despite the fact that neurons do not reproduce. It will show that Darwinian neurodynamics offers a credible and efficient algorithm for approximate Bayesian inference in the brain. The project will investigate the NRH in three ways: (1) The hypothesis will be worked out rigorously using formal models and computer simulations, (2) Its empirical relevance will be tested both from the viewpoint of neurophysiology using cell cultures, and from the viewpoint of human psychology using psychological experiments and neuroimaging. (3) Its ICT application potential is tested for two critical domains: robotics and language communication. Robotics work will test whether Darwinian neurodynamic controllers can be constructed that allow robots to engage in open-ended creative autonomous exploration. Language processing research will test whether detailed models of language learning that are based on areplicator dynamics of grammatical constructions is effective for explaining and synthesizing creative linguistic performance.

For further information on INSIGHT click here.

Professor Eörs Szathmáry,
Director of the Center for the Conceptual Foundations of Science,
Academia Europaea and Hungarian Academy of Sciences member


Project Partners:
Prof. Phil Husbands
Department of Informatics, University of Sussex, United Kingdom

Prof. Dario Floreano
Head of Laboratory, School of Engineering/Institute of Microengineering/Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

Prof. Luc Steels
ICREA research professor, Institut de Biologia Evolutiva - IBE, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain

Dr. Chrisantha Fernando
Lecturer, School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, United Kingdom

Dr. Laura Martinelli
Owner, IN Srl, Financing & Project Management, Italy

Project Coordinator:
Parmenides Foundation
Kirchplatz 1
D - 82049 Pullach, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 89 452 09 35-0
Fax: +49 (0) 89 452 09 35 31