2022 Projects

Teaming for Interdisciplinary Research Pre-Seed Program

UGA Brain-inspired Artificial Intelligence Team

UGA Brain-inspired Artificial Intelligence Team

fMRI scan of brain

Studying the nature of biological neural networks (BNN), or brain connectomics, in the brain has been a frontier in neuroscience. In parallel, designing and optimizing artificial neural networks (ANN) is a core research topic in deep learning and artificial intelligence. Despite that ANN was originally inspired by BNN in the early stage, there has been little synergy or interaction between the fields of BNN and ANN research due to the significant gaps between these two domains.

This BAI team thrives to bridge these significant gaps and unify and jointly raise the expectations of both brain connectomics and ANN fields, taking full advantage of recent developments across disciplines in brain science and deep learning to develop shared neural network graph models and apply them to plentiful use-inspired research and engineering opportunities, including robotics, computer vision, biomedical imaging, precision agriculture, cybersecurity and privacy, life science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering and education, across the entire University in the future. Also, the research and training opportunities led by this BAI team will help cultivate the next generation of brain and AI scientists and engineers.

This BAI team is composed of 12 top-notch brain science and AI researchers from UGA, and their expertise are as follows. Neural and Cognitive Sciences: John Hale (Linguistics), Jennifer McDowell (Psychology and Neuroscience), Dean Sabatinelli (Psychology and Neuroscience), Ping Shen (Cellular Biology); Deep Learning and ANN: Tianming Liu (Computer Science), John Miller (Computer Science), Shannon Quinn (Computer Science); Graph Theory: Liming Cai (Computer Science); Robotics: Jing Xu (Kinesiology); Statistics: Pengsheng Ji (Statistics and Data Science); Engineering: Xianqiao Wang (Mechanical Engineering); Engineering Education and Outreach: Nathaniel Hunsu (Engineering).

The near-term goals of the BAI team are: 1. To enrich the team’s research portfolio by inviting members with complementary expertise; 2. To hold regular in-person workshops and brainstorming meetings; 3. To discuss strategies for forming sub-teams towards collaborative grant proposals; 4. To reach out to colleagues from southeastern regional institutions as well as local industries to form a southeastern hub for AI research; 5. To promote collaborative research and education activities, including joint publications and co-supervising students.

Team Lead

Tianming Liu
Department of Computer Science

Team Members

John Hale
Department of Linguistics

Xianqiao Wang
College of Engineering

Jennifer McDowell
Department of Psychology

Dean Sabatinelli
Department of Psychology

Ping Shen
Department of Cellular Biology

John Miller
Department of Computer Science

Shannon Quinn
Department of Computer Science

Liming Cai
Department of Computer Science

Pengsheng Ji
Department of Statistics

Jing Xu
Mary Frances Early College of Education

Nathaniel Hunsu
College of Engineering