Although the development of complex computers has been one of the great technological achievements of the late 20th century, the truth is that insect brains are far more effective than computers when the tasks require real-time interactions with the world, and solutions to problems of pattern recognition, navigation, and motor co-ordination.
The mammalian brain is even more sophisticated than insects. Understanding its complexity of organisation and function is a major challenge for scientists of the 21st century.
Scientists at the CCNW are working to understand this complexity, through multidisciplinary collaborations that include biologists, physicists, psychologists, engineers, and computer scientists. Some of these scientists are exploiting new developments in silicon technology and computers to develop models of the brain, particularly the sensory interfaces with the world and the central processing that leads to behaviour, and test these models experimentally.
The intellectual and technological need to understand biological intelligence at a deep level has encouraged rapid growth of research at the interface between neuroscience, computing and engineering.