News & Events


Caltech Celebrates 30 Years of its Computation and Neural Systems Option


Computation and Neural Systems (CNS) at Caltech explores the relationship between the physical structure of a computational system and the dynamics of its operation, as well as the computational problems that it can efficiently solve. At the symposium Professor Pietro Perona told the audience, despite CNS's success, its faculty members never rest on their laurels; they regularly reevaluate whether to continue the option and how to evolve its scope to keep it intellectually vibrant. Professor Carver Mead remarked, “I think it's true that the fields we bring together in CNS really do synergize. The goals aren't so different. Because to build something you have to understand it. And if you understand it, you can build it. That's a saying that Dick Feynman got from me." [Caltech story]

Tags: Pietro Perona Carver Mead CNS Thanos Siapas John Hopfield

Professor Siapas Named Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellow


Athanassios G. Siapas, Professor of Computation and Neural Systems, has been named by the Department of Defense (DoD) as a 2017 Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellow. “The fellowship program provides research awards to top-tier researchers from U.S. universities to conduct revolutionary “high risk, high pay-off” research of strategic importance to the Department of Defense,” said Mary J. Miller, acting assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering. Professor Siapas has been named a fellow in the area of cognitive neuroscience. His research focuses on the study of information processing across networks of neurons, with emphasis on the neuronal mechanisms that underlie learning and memory formation. [DoD release]

Tags: honors Athanassios Siapas CNS

Winners of the 2016 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes Announced


The student winners of the 2016 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes were announced at a special dinner with the Demetriades - Tsafka – Kokkalis family. Rachel P. Galimidi received the prize in Biotechnology for her work with Professor Pamela Bjorkman aimed to further understand the mechanism of HIV evasion of the humoral immune response. Junle Jiang was the recipient of the prize in Seismo-Engineering, Prediction, and Protection for his work with Nadia Lapusta which used probabilistic inversion tools to understand the deep-ocean trench generated tsunamis that occurred during the subduction-zone earthquakes in Japan and Chile. Yinglu Tang working with Dr. Jeff Snyder received the prize in Environmentally Benign Renewable Energy Sources for her work on thermoelectric skutterudites for mid-temperature applications such as automotive waste heat recovery. The second winner in this category was Changhong Zhao who worked with Professor Steven Low to study the control and optimization of modern electric power systems. The winner of the prize in Nanotechnology was Gustavo Rios whose research involves development of a modular, scalable, nanofabricated neural probe system for dense 3-D electrophysiology to study animal brains. Rio’s graduate advisor was Professor Thanos Siapas. The prize in Entrepreneurship was given to Anton A. Toutov who was advised by Professor Robert Grubbs. His research interests lie in using fundamental chemistry to development radically new, sustainable ways to make everyday chemical products and generate clean energy.

Tags: APhMS EE honors MedE MCE CMS Jeff Snyder Nadia Lapusta Steven Low Robert Grubbs CNS Junle Jiang Rachel P. Galimidi Pamela Bjorkman Yinglu Tang Changhong Zhao Gustavo Rios Thanos Siapas Anton Toutov

Charles Wang Receives 2016 Henry Ford II Scholar Award


Computation & Neural Systems student Charles Wang, mentored by Professor Athanassios G. Siapas, is a recipient of the 2016 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. He enjoys Caltech’s academic rigor as well as the undergraduate research programs. He is matriculating as a Caltech-UCSD Medical Scholar, expecting to attend UCSD Medical School after completing his four years at Caltech. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Tags: honors Henry Ford II Scholar Award Athanassios Siapas Charles Wang CNS

Professor Siapas Receives NIH Pioneer Award


Thanos Siapas, Professor of Computation and Neural Systems, has received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pioneer Award.  He plans to use the award to develop neural probes for large-scale recordings of brain activity. "Brain functions such as perception, learning, and memory arise from the coordinated activation of billions of neurons distributed throughout the brain," Siapas says. "While we know a lot about the properties of individual neurons, much less is known about how assemblies of neurons interact to perform computations. Our goal is to develop large-scale, multielectrode arrays that will enable the monitoring of many neurons simultaneously across different brain areas. We hope that such arrays will expose new fundamental insights into brain activity, and will find application in the study of animal models of brain disorders." [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: EE honors research highlights health Athanassios Siapas NIH

Athanassios Siapas and Evgueniy Lubenov Reveal the Driving Factor in the Brain's Self-regulation


Using computer models of neuronal circuits and experiments on live rats, Athanassios Siapas, Assistant Professor of Computation and Neural Systems, and his postdoctoral researcher Evgueniy Lubenov are revealing the curious mechanism by which the brain spontaneously tips itself toward a state balanced between order and chaos. The driving factor in the brain's self-regulation, they say, is the timing of neural pulses. "Networks self-organize to an intermediate state, in between the two extremes," Siapas says.

Tags: EE research highlights health Athanassios Siapas