Biography

I completed a PhD. in Computational Neuroscience under the supervision of Professor Murray Shanahan at Imperial College London. My PhD investigated metastable dynamics in interacting populations of spiking neurons. The investigation focused on modelling and mathematically analysing the effects of topological structure and plasticity on dynamics. The work elucidated how the combined activity of individual spiking neurons gives rise to the formation of coherent oscillating assemblies, and how the dynamics between these assemblies evolve over time. A symbiotic relationship between plasticity and structure was identified, in which spike-timing dependent plasticity acting in concert with the oscillatory interactions between neural populations causes the network to restructure so as to have a modular small-world topology akin to those found in the brain. These structures in turn enhance metastabilty. Another major finding in the thesis relating to the kinds of complex network that give rise to metastable dynamics shows that networks with a densely intra-connected set of topologically central nodes tend to promote metastability. In a nutshell this suggests that the biological brain has exactly the right sort of connectivity to generate the kind of dynamics that is believed to be central to cognition. It is my thesis that metastable phenomena permit the exploration, integration and communication of functionally related neural areas during cognitive processing.

My educational background prior to this is in Philosophy, Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life. Before returning to academia to undertake a PhD. I was working in industry developing artificial life simulations for entertainment products. I have most notably worked on the 'Creatures' series of computer games and the BBC television programme 'Bamzooki'.