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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