John J Ryan Distinguished Guest Lecture 

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Professor Christof Koch

Christof Koch is the President of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, Washington.  He received his baccalaureate from the Lycée Descartes in Rabat, Morocco, his M.S. in physics from the University of Tübingen in Germany and his Ph.D. from the Max-Planck-Institut für Biologische Kybernetik, Tübingen. Subsequently, he spent four years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1987 until 2013, he was a professor at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, from his initial appointment as Assistant Professor, Division of Biology and Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences in 1986, to his final position as Lois and Victor Troendle Professor of Cognitive & Behavioral Biology.

Koch has published extensively, and his writings and interests integrate theoretical, computational and experimental neuroscience with philosophy and contemporary trends, in particular artificial intelligence.

His last book, “The Feeling of Life Itself: Why Consciousness Is Widespread but Can’t Be Computed explores”, amongst other topics, how programmable computers or a perfect software model of the brain will never have consciousness. He also authored the technical books Biophysics of Computation: Information Processing in Single Neurons and Methods in Neuronal Modeling: From Ions to Networks, and served as editor for several books on neural modeling and information processing. Koch’s research addresses scientific questions using a widely multidisciplinary approach. 

His research interests include elucidating the biophysical mechanisms underlying neural computation, understanding the mechanisms and purpose of visual attention, and uncovering the neural basis of consciousness and the subjective mind.