Interdisciplinary College 2018

From 9th to 16th March, MSNE students Auguste, Pranshul, Steffen and Nicolas attended the Interdisciplinary College (IK) in Günne. Since 1997, this annual spring school brings together students and researchers from the fields of computational neuroscience, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, robotics, cognitive sciences and philosophy.

The overall topic of this year Me, Myself and I was approached from various different angles through the lenses of the different scientific disciplines.

Among many other lectures, we enthusiastically attended the lecture series of MSNE faculty Prof. Julijana Gjorgjieva. At IK, she talked about computations in neural systems, covering a diverse range of topics from mean-field modelling of feedforward and recurrent networks of spiking neurons over changes of cortical computation during development to efficient coding in the visual system. Pranshul especially cherished the lecture by Prof. Thomas Metzinger, who strived to provide consciousness models with a focus on merging eastern and western philosophy.

For the six meals a day, we were encouraged to change the tables and engage into conversation with anyone irrespective of title or field of research. This really made IK a truly interdisciplinary experience. We also had the chance to talking with professors during meals and have informal discussions the making’ in its own way. The fireplace or the bar were the central meeting points in the evenings. Further, the location of the place was so beautiful that most of us were pushed to explore the surroundings, either by a walk, or biking. Another highlight were the nightly waterball matches in the pool which sometimes were fought until the sunrise.

The conference dinner took place on Tuesday which provided an avenue for all of us to dress nicely and enjoy various musical performances. The IK faculty members made it even more fun with their witful sense of humour.

Sleep-deprived and with a huge backlog of interesting research papers and directions to look into, we are heading back to Munich. Since we were introduced to the topic Out of our senses – From data to insights of next year during IK 2018, most of us are planning to join next year as well. For us, it was a time with feeling of a community, cherishing each other’s work and talents, and obliterating boundaries of our own self in midst of amazing people around us.

Posters presented by MSNE students

Written by Nicolas Berberich and Pranshul Saini