A New BU Research Center

September 28, 2011

Boston University’s leadership in the field of neural and computational science has entered a new phase with the chartering of a new research center, the Center for Computational Neuroscience and Neural Technologies. Known as CompNet the center is located at 677 Beacon Street. The Director is Barbara Shinn-Cunningham of BME (ENG) and the Co-Director is Nancy Kopell of Mathematics and Statistics (CAS).

Changes in CAS Departmental Roster

The Department of Cognitive and Neural Systems (CNS) was a unique and pathbreaking community of scientists and students that focused on the neural and computational principles, mechanisms, and architectures that underlie human and animal behavior, and the application of neural network architectures to the solution of technological problems. The department’s training and research focused on two broad questions. How does the brain control behavior? How can technology emulate biological intelligence? This profoundly interdisciplinary department and training program was the brainchild of Professor Stephen Grossberg, part of whose fascinating story is told through interviews with him at  and .

The impact and interdisciplinary reach of CNS was enormous – so large that it cannot be contained within one small department. The world of science and scholarship has changed considerably since the launch of this department, and faculty with expertise in the fields and approaches fostered by CNS are now found in many departments and disciplines. For this reason, Dean Sapiro made the decision to close the department as a distinct entity and encourage, instead, the development of a new research center that would refresh and expand the connections among BU scientists, scholars and students engaged in this research and discovery. The result is the new Center for Computational Neuroscience and Neural Technologies (CompNet), now open for business in the location formerly occupied by the Department of CNS. The faculty and research scholars of CNS, now joined by other faculty and scholars, form the core of the new research center.

Although the CNS no longer exists as a department, the Ph.D. Program in Cognitive and Neural Systems will remain open and active under the direction of Psychology Professor Dan Bullock as long as there are students pursuing their degrees in a timely way. The CNS Program, like CompNet, are both located at 677 Beacon St.

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