Sejnowski, Terrence J(oseph) 1947-
SEJNOWSKI, Terrence J(oseph) 1947-
PERSONAL: Born August 13, 1947, in Cleveland, OH; son of Joseph Francis and Teresa (Cudnik) Sejnowski; married Beatrice Alexandra Golomb, March 24, 1990. Education: Case Western Reserve University, B.S.; Princeton University, Ph.D., 1978; studied neurobiology at Harvard University School of Medicine.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 10010 North Torrey Pines, Rd., La Jolla, CA 92037-1099. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Neuroscientist. Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA, research fellow, 1979-82; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, 1982-90; Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, director of Computational Neurobiology Laboratory, 1988—. Investigator with Howard Hughes Medical Institute; University of California—San Diego, professor of biology, physics, and neurosciences, director of Institute for Neural Computation. Founder and editor of journal Neural Computation, 1989—.
AWARDS, HONORS: Presidential Young Investigator Award, 1984-89; named Fairchild distinguished scholar, 1992-93; Wright Prize, 1996.
(Editor, with David Touretzky and Geoffrey Hinton) Proceedings of the 1988 Connectionist Models Summer School, M. Kaufman (San Mateo, CA), 1989.
(With Alain Destexhe) Thalamocortical Assemblies: How Ion Channels, Single Neurons, and Large-scale Networks Organize Sleep Oscillations ("Monographs of the Physiological Society" series), Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2001.
(With Steven Quartz) Liars, Lovers, and Heroes: What the New Brain Science Reveals about How We Become Who We Are, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2002.
"computational neuroscience" series
(With Patricia Smith Churchland) The Computational Brain, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1992.
(Editor, with Geoffrey Hinton) Unsupervised Learning: Foundations of Neural Computation, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1999.
(Editor, with Laurence Abbott) Neural Codes and Distributed Representations: Foundations of Neural Computation, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1999.
(Editor, with Klaus Obermayer) Self-Organizing Map Formation: Foundations of Neural Computation, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.
(Editor, with Michael I. Jordan) Graphical Models: Foundations of Neural Computation, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.
Contributor to journals, including the Journal of Neuroscience and Science.
SIDELIGHTS: Terrence J. Sejnowski is the author and editor of books that study the new field of computational neuroscience. Choice contributor L. Gillikin reviewed The Computational Brain, written with Patricia Smith Churchland, and remarked that the authors "make fascinating reading out of studies that by other writers might be tedious, yet scientific detail is not sacrificed." The first sentence of the preface reads: "To understand how neurons give rise to mental life, we must know what they do, both individually as single cells and collectively as coherent systems of cells." "And that is precisely what their book explores," commented Mike May in American Scientist.
Susan Blackmore, who reviewed the book in the Times Literary Supplement, wrote that "computational neuroscience is arguably the fastest growing and most exciting field of contemporary research. It is the coming together of the still-growing toddler of computer science with the vigorous but grownup field of neurophysiology. At its best, the knowledge we have acquired from building and using computers should help us to understand how our own nervous systems work."
Sejnowski founded Neural Computation in 1989. It soon became the leading journal of its kind, and many of its articles have been reprinted in collections edited by Sejnowski. Unsupervised Learning: Foundations of Neural Computation, edited with Geoffrey Hinton, is a collection of twenty-one papers that focus on unsupervised learning, or learning without a teacher. AI contributor DeLiang Wang called the collection "essential reading for professionals and graduate students who work on sensory encoding, perceptual processing, and machine learning. It is also a valuable source for engineers working in the areas of computer vision, speech processing, and communication."
Neural Codes and Distributed Representations: Foundations of Neural Computation is also a collection of articles reprinted from the journal that, as David J. Pinto explained in Quarterly Review of Biology, examine "various facets of information processing and coding by neural systems. They are loosely organized into three groups addressing population coding, neuronal response variability, and the nature of neural codes."
Other collections from the journal include Self-Organizing Map Formation: Foundations of Neural Computation and Graphical Models: Foundations of Neural Computation. The articles in the former study what can be learned about the statistical properties of input data without feedback from a teacher, and in the latter, they focus on the relationship between formal graphical models and the exploration of neural network architectures and algorithms.
Sejnowski and Steven Quartz cowrote Liars, Lovers, and Heroes: What the New Brain Science Reveals about How We Become Who We Are, a study of human behavior that crosses discipline boundaries, and in which the authors use the term "cultural biology" in describing the interactions between genes and environment. They "discourse on learning, love, intelligence, personality, and happiness," noted a Kirkus Reviews contributor, "often pointing to anatomical pathways and neurochemicals as clues."
Writing in Human Nature Review, Sue McHale noted that "the opening chapters set the scene for a 'science of the soul' and act in a manner similar to a neural net, raising the reader's consciousness to relevant human experience. Further chapters explore the ideas that link brain development and cultural influences, development of structure, function, and emotions, culminating in an understanding of who we are. The synthesis they weave together draws on diverse fields from computational modeling through brain imaging, cognitive psychology, social psychology, to evolutionary biology"
Sejnowski and Quartz focus on the human experience and particularly on their theories regarding attachment, about which they emphasize the importance of interactions with other humans (and animals), especially going into old age, as well as maintaining cognitive function in later years. They examine the role the United States has played in influencing the cultures of the world in chapters that McHale called "much darker." McHale observed that "it is far too comfortable from their side of the fence to do much more than a spot of navel gazing. Despite this, there are good discussions on complex human capacities."
In the last chapter, Sejnowski and Quartz target the desocializing aspects of television and the Internet and note how the effects of globalization can result in unhappiness. McHale called Liars, Lovers, and Heroes "an ambitious book."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
AI, summer, 2001, DeLiang Wang, review of Unsupervised Learning: Foundations of Neural Computation, p. 101.
American Scientist, September-October, 1993, Mike May, review of The Computational Brain, p. 488.
Booklist, October 1, 2002, Gilbert Taylor, review of Liars, Lovers, and Heroes: What the New Brain Science Reveals about How We Become Who We Are, p. 294.
Choice, December, 1992, L. Gillikin, review of The Computational Brain, p. 644.
Human Nature Review, November, 2002, Sue McHale, review of Liars, Lovers, and Heroes.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2002, review of Liars, Lovers, and Heroes, p. 1203.
New York Times, November 14, 2000, Sandra Blakeslee, review of Liars, Lovers, and Heroes, p. F2.
Philosophy of Science, March, 1996, Brian P. McLaughlin, review of The Computational Brain, pp. 137-139.
Quarterly Review of Biology, June, 2001, David J. Pinto, review of Neural Codes and Distributed Representations: Foundations of Neural Computation, p. 265; September, 2002, Peter Dayan, review of Graphical Models: Foundations of Neural Computation, p. 356.
San Diego Business Journal, December 2, 2002, Marion Webb, review of Liars, Lovers, and Heroes, p. 41.
Science, December 4, 1992, Michael A. Arbib, review of The Computational Brain, p. 1671.
Times Higher Education Supplement, October 23, 1992, Susan Blackmore, review of The Computational Brain, p. 27.
Trends in Neurosciences, September, 2000, Simon Laughlin, review of Neural Codes and Distributed Representations, p. 443.
Whole Earth Review, summer, 1990, Kevin Kelly, review of Neural Computations (journal), p. 19.*