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Undergraduate Studies in Cognitive Science. Fall 2012. News. We had 3 undergraduate COGS majors graduating this spring . Together with last year’s 2, we’re now at 5. Latest Numbers. 53 COGS majors By year: 16 seniors 19 juniors 15 sophomores 3 freshmen By major: COGS: 18

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  • We had 3 undergraduate COGS majors graduating this spring. Together with last year’s 2, we’re now at 5.

Latest numbers
Latest Numbers

  • 53 COGS majors

  • By year:

    • 16 seniors

    • 19 juniors

    • 15 sophomores

    • 3 freshmen

  • By major:

    • COGS: 18

    • COGS/CSCI: 21

    • COGS/GSAS: 7

    • Other duals: 7 (MATH,PHIL,PSYC, BMED, ISCI)

Possible dual majors
Possible Dual Majors







COGS / CSYS (very tight, but can be done!)






  • We now have a Cognitive Science minor:

    • Introduction to Cognitive Science

    • Plus 3 more courses

  • Possible future minors we’re thinking of:

    • Cognitive Technology (AI, Cognitive Robotics)

    • Cognitive Engineering (Cognitive Modeling)

  • Remember we do have Cog Sci related minors:

    • PSYC: minor in Cognition

    • PHIL: minor in Logic, Computation, and Mind (only 1 extra course in addition to COGS courses!)

Other concentrations and programs
Other Concentrations and Programs

  • GSAS has Cognitive Science concentration

    • Contact: Elizabeth Large

  • ITWS has Cognitive Science track (as well as Psychology track)

    • Contact: Bram van Heuveln

  • MGMT: 5 year Masters in Management in Technology Commercialization and Entrepreneurship program (Cognitive Science track)

    • Contact: Jeff Durgee

  • COGS: 5 year Co-Terminal (M.S. and B.S.) and 7 year Co-Terminal (PhD and S.B) degree programs

    • Contact: Brett Fajen

Current curriculum for bs in cognitive science
Current Curriculum for BS in Cognitive Science

Basic Math /Science

Calc. I + II, Discrete Structures or Diff. Eq.

Comp Sci I, Data Structures, Intro to Algorithms

Intro to Biology

10 core courses:

Minds & Machines / Philosophy of Science

Introduction to Cognitive Science

Introduction to Logic

Experimental Methods and Statistics

Cognitive Psychology

Behavioral Neuroscience

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence

Cognitive Modeling / Programming for AI and Cog Sci

Sensation and Perception / Structure of Language

Phil of AI / Knowledge and Rationality / Metaphysics & Consciousness

2 Electives

Cog Sci related courses from PHIL, PSYC, CSCI, and a few others

Undergraduate Thesis

A necessary change
A Necessary Change

  • The CSCI department changed their sequence.

    • From: CSCI I, Data Structures, Discrete Structures, Algorithms

    • To: CSCI I, Data Structures, Foundations of CSCI, Algorithms

      • (Foundations of CSCI combines Discrete Structures and Models of Computation)

  • COGS curriculum needs to go through same sequence

An obvious change
An Obvious Change

  • Right now we list Behavioral Neuroscience as a required course, but new faculty member Alicia Walf teaches several other neuroscience courses, including Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience.

  • We’ll probably make this into an option (i.e. take one of these).

Other possible changes
Other Possible Changes

  • We could list a few more options in the ‘Cognitive Modeling’ corner:

    • Cognitive Robotics

    • Psyc Modeling with Cognitive Architectures

    • Intelligent Virtual Agents

    • … could Intro to AI be made one of these?

  • What about the Sensation and Perception / Structure of Language option?

    • Structure of Language hasn’t been taught in a while … but Cassimatis sometimes teaches a Knowledge Representation or Use of Language course instead.

A small crisis
A Small ‘Crisis’

  • Jim Fahey, who taught Minds and Machines, Philosophy of Science, Knowledge and Rationality, and Metaphysics and Consciousness, was forced to retire.

  • This severely restricts the PHIL options of the COGS curriculum.

  • ... Not sure what to do …

Introduction to cognitive science
Introduction to Cognitive Science

  • This is a weird one …

  • Seems like an obvious course: basic overview of all areas + springboard to advanced courses in each separate area.

  • But:

    • Still largely philosophical

    • Somewhat redundant if advanced courses cover all that stuff … and more!

  • Possible idea: make this one of the PHIL options

Potential other changes
Potential Other Changes

  • Increased emphasis in Secondary Areas (neuroscience, linguistics, anthropology)

  • Replace some Core courses with Electives

  • Tracks

  • Research requirement

Increased emphasis in secondary areas
Increased Emphasis in Secondary Areas

  • Quite a few students on survey would like to see increased emphasis on neuroscience (also goes with persistent interest from BMED students in COGS)

    • Good news: a cognitive/computational neuroscience person tops the list of what dept wants to hire

  • A few indicated linguistics and natural language processing

Replace some core courses with electives
Replace Some Core Courses with Electives

  • Most students responding to survey would like this … some argued this should be done exactly because Cognitive science is such a large field.

  • Several students identified Experimental Methods and Statistics as a course that they felt should not be required (or at least in current form)

  • Idea: Make a ‘Formal Methods for Cognitive Science course that includes statistics, logic, …)


  • I proposed an ‘Artificial Cognition’ (CSCI / PHIL) and a ‘Human Cognition’ (PSYC/ Neuro) track

  • Mixed responses

    • Some say just take care of this with more electives

    • Some say have more tracks than that

    • Some say that’s not a clear division (couple said they like to combine Neuro and CSCI)

Research requirements
Research Requirements

  • Basically unprompted, a good number of respondents said to add some kind of research requirement (possibly through a coop/intern).

    • Desire for Applications of Cognitive Science?

      • Note: we do nothing with Cognitive Science and:

        • Law

        • Education

        • Economics

        • Design

        • Culture/Society

Online courses
Online Courses

  • All under www.coursera.org

    • Basic Programming

    • Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

    • Humanities and Social Science

    • Information, Technology, and Design

    • Neuroscience

  • I can give 1-2 credits Independent Study for successful completion of these courses (Add Deadline: next Monday, 9/10)

Wednesday issues in cognitive science seminar
Wednesday Issues in Cognitive Science Seminar

  • It is possible for undergraduates to receive 1 credit through the Issues in Cognitive Science Lecture Series:

    • Write 1 page response paper about talk for 6 talks of your choice

    • Register for “Issues in Cognitive Science” at 400 level

    • Restricted to COGS majors or dual majors with PHIL or PSYC

Speakers this semester
SpeakersThis Semester

  • September 19, Selmer Bringsjord, RPI

    • Online University Courses

  • October 3, AfzalUpal, Univ. of Toledo

    • Computational models of spreading of cultural information

  • October 17, Selim Aki, Queens University

    • Unconventional computing

  • November 7, Robert Olberg, Union

    • Sensory motor control of insects

  • November 28, Matthias Scheutz, Tufts University

    • All-Round Cognitive Science guy (probably something philosophical)

  • All other talks by COGS graduate students

  • For a complete schedule of speakers go to Speaker Series off of Cognitive Science department home page

  • If you think of a potential speaker, let me know!

Undergraduate research
Undergraduate Research

  • Cog Sci students are strongly encouraged to do hands-on research

  • Undergraduate Research Program (URP)

    • http://www.rpi.edu/dept/urp

    • Fill out URP form:

      • You have to write a 500 word proposal!

      • for course credit (deadline: 9/10)

        • Also fill out an Independent Study/URP Registration form

      • for $ (deadline: 9/14)

  • Research can be used for Senior Thesis

Overview research labs
Overview Research Labs

  • Mei Si, Si Lab

  • Ron Sun, Cognitive Architecture Lab

  • Brett Fajen, PandALab

  • Wayne Gray, CogWorks Lab

  • Bram van Heuveln, Cognitive Robotics Lab and Visual Logic Group

  • Selmer Bringsjord, RAIR Lab


  • Declare or add Cognitive Science Major

    • Fill out Change of Major form

    • Advisor: Bram van Heuveln

    • Curriculum Coordinator: Betty Osganian (Carnegie 108)

  • 1 credit for lectures

    • Fill out Independent Study form

      • 200/400 PHIL/PSYC “Issues in Cognitive Science”

  • Senior Thesis/Capstone Project

    • Find thesis advisor

    • Fill out Thesis Registration form

  • URP

    • Fill out URP form

    • For credit:

      • Fill out Independent Study form as well

      • Credits to be determined by project advisor

      • Deadline: course add deadline: Monday, 9/12

    • For $:

      • Find faculty member with $!

      • Deadline: 9/16