Aim and Scope

We are in the age of AI revolution. Computers today can perform many tasks which until recently, could only be done by people. A contemporary machine vision system could identify faces, even matching them to specific identities, and many of the objects in the scene. However, unlike a human being, in most of the cases it will fail to interpret and explain what is happening in an image. We do not really know what understanding an image by a human brain means. We do not know how to engineer a system which can possess common sense, can flexibly adapt to new situations, and can deal effectively with uncertainty while planning like a normal human being. To build next generation AI system we need to understand the algorithms used by the brain and the hardware needed to run these algorithms. Current focus on the engineering of intelligence must be complemented by scientific investigations of the natural intelligence. We must address core questions about intelligence – its nature, how it is manifested in living systems and how it could be implemented in machines.

This workshop will provide a forum for a dialogue on these fundamental problems. It proposes to explore these questions with an approach that integrates cognitive science, which studies the mind; neuroscience, which studies the brain; and computer science and artificial intelligence, which studies the computations needed to develop intelligent machines.

It will target to create a research agenda which will be relevant for scientific pursuit in the typical socio-economic context of India.


Prof. Santanu Chaudhury

Director, Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur

Professor, IIT Delhi (On lien)
Former Director, CSIR-CEERI Pilani

Title of the talk : Connectomics and Artificial Intelligence

Connectomics, study of connectomes: comprehensive maps of connections within an organism's nervous system, typically its brain or eye. The talk touches upon techniques to understand brain connections from brain imaging data using machine learning, and how understanding of the connectomes can lead to implementation of artificial general intelligence.

About The Speaker
Professor Santanu Chaudhury, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Delhi, has assumed charge as Director, IIT Jodhpur, on 10 December 2018. Professor Chaudhury holds B.Tech. (Electronics and Electrical Communication Engineering) and Ph.D. (Computer Science & Engineering) Degrees from IIT Kharagpur.

Professor Chaudhury joined as Faculty Member in the Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Delhi, in 1992. He was Dean, Under-Graduate Studies at IIT Delhi. He has served as Director of CSIR-CEERI, Pilani, during 2016-18. Professor Chaudhury is a recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus award from IIT Kharagpur.

Professor Chaudhury is a Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineers (INAE) and National Academy of Sciences (NAS). He is a Fellow of International Association Pattern Recognition (IAPR). He was awarded the INSA (Indian National Science Academy) Medal for Young Scientists in 1993. He received ACCS-CDAC award for his research contributions in 2012.

A keen researcher and a thorough academic, Professor Chaudhury has about 300 publications in peer reviewed journals and conference proceedings, 15 patents and 4 authored/edited books to his credit.

Prof. Neeraj Jain

Director, National Brain Research Centre

Title of the talk : Intelligence: A neurobiologist perspective

About The Speaker
Professor Neeraj Jain did his Post-Doctoral research work with Prof. Jon Kaas at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA. He worked on the organization and plasticity of the somatosensory system, and continued at Vanderbilt as Research Assistant Professor before moving to National Brain Research Centre, Manesar, near New Delhi, India, where he is currently a Professor and the Director.

His research interests include organization and information processing in the primate and rodent sensorimotor system. Current research focus of his laboratory is on determining how brains reorganize following injuries to the spinal cord and its perceptual and behavioural consequences. The lab is also interested in interventions such as stem cell transplantation to improve recoveries from spinal cord injuries and developing assistive devices for patients using brain-machine interface.

Prof. Manas Kumar Mandal

Distinguished Visiting Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur

Title of the talk : How knowledge is acquired, represented, stored, processed, transferred and retrieved


The aim of the talk is to highlight the transdisciplinary nature of cognitive science that best explains the Science of Intelligence, and the respective roles of behavior science, neuroscience and computation science in the understanding of the Science of Intelligence.

About The Speaker
Professor Manas Kumar Mandal’s research contribution to the field of psychological science spanned over 35 years with primary focus on affect processing in the brain, in general, and in schizophrenia, in particular. His doctoral work on affect (emotion) processing in schizophrenia has been an original work that paved the way for the formulation many research hypotheses later. Dr. Mandal continued his endeavour in later part of his research in uncovering the role of cerebral hemispheres in emotion processing. The input about cerebral lateralization was drawn from his earlier work in which he proposed that the right hemisphere activity that regulates emotion processing may be intact in schizophrenia. While at the Indian Institute of Technology – Kharagpur, Dr. Mandal pursued the domain of behavioural neuroscience in normal human behavior, in which he explored the difficulties faced by the left and mixed (clumsy) handers in the society. His researches let us know what percentage of the left handers are found in India, what makes a left hander switch handedness pattern, why the left handers are more prone to accidents than the right handers, etc. As the Director of Defense Institute of Psychological Research (DRDO), Dr. Mandal engaged himself in a large number of activities towards the human performance development of the community of armed / paramilitary forces (National Security Guards, CRPF, etc.). Noteworthy, amongst these include (a) getting the best cadet for the armed / paramilitary forces through scientifically developed selection system, (b) analyzing critical behavior like mob hysteria or terrorism, (c) imparting mass counseling for man-made and natural disasters, (d) reducing the incidence of self-defeating behaviours in soldiers like suicide and fratricide, etc.

Prof. Laxmidhar Behera

Poonam and Prabhu Goel Chair Professor
Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur

Title of the talk : Can we build conscious machines?


It is assumed that all living beings are conscious machines. Can we build such a conscious machine that will be as natural as living beings? Applications like Alexa and Siri have made us believe that conscious machines are being built. Artificial Intelligence in its new incarnation is making wave across the world for being able to make machines intelligent. In spite of these signs of progress, the debate on ‘what consciousness is’ is very much on. The philosophical deliberations, scientific empirical pieces of evidence and first-person perspectives are subject matters of such debates. In this talk, the speaker defined the hard problem of consciousness and reflects upon the current state of AI machines. Through empirical pieces of evidence, the speaker shall explain the bottlenecks in solving the hard problem. It will be argued that the consciousness is not an emerging phenomenon but a motive force that drives creativity in a human. Based on these lines, the speaker proposes a method to build an artificial conscious machine.

About The Speaker
Professor Laxmidhar Behera is working as the Professor at IIT Kanpur having research and teaching experience of more than 23 years. He has received the BSc (engineering) and MSc (engineering) degrees from NIT Rourkela in 1988 and 1990, respectively. He received the PhD degree from IIT Delhi in 1996. He pursued the postdoctoral studies in the German National Research Center for Information Technology, GMD, Sank Augustin, Germany, during 2000-2001. Previously, he has worked as an assistant professor at BITS Pilani during 1995- 1999 and as a reader at Intelligent Systems Research Center (ISRC), the University of Ulster, the United Kingdom during 2007-2009. He has also worked as a visiting researcher/professor at FHG, Germany, and ETH, Zurich, Switzerland. He is one of the pioneers in the field of AI-based autonomous robotics. His work lies in the convergence of machine learning, control theory, robotic vision and heterogeneous robotic platforms. He has received more than INR 18 crore research grants to support his research activities - the recent one being IGCST International grant. He has established industrial collaboration with TCS, Renault Nissan, Wipro and ADNOC, Abu Dhabi while making significant technological development in the areas such robotics based warehouse automation, vision and drone guided driver assistance system, and drone guided pipeline inspection systems. He has published more than 280 papers in Journals and Conference Proceedings. He is a Fellow of INAE and Senior Member of IEEE. He is one of the technical committee members on Robotics and Intelligent Systems in IEEE SMC society. His other research interests include intelligent control, semantic signal/music processing, neural networks, control of cyber-physical systems and cognitive modelling.

Prof. Pawan Sinha

Professor of Vision and Computational Neuroscience
MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Title of the talk : Can we build conscious machines?

About The Speaker
Professor Pawan Sinha is a tenured professor of vision and computational neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. He received his undergraduate degree in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi and his Masters and doctoral degrees in Artificial Intelligence from the Department of Computer Science at MIT. He has also had extended research stays at the University of California, Berkeley, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, the Sarnoff Research Center in Princeton, and the Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany.Professor Pawan Sinha is a tenured professor of vision and computational neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. He received his undergraduate degree in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi and his Masters and doctoral degrees in Artificial Intelligence from the Department of Computer Science at MIT. He has also had extended research stays at the University of California, Berkeley, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, the Sarnoff Research Center in Princeton, and the Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany.

Prof. Sinha’s research interests span neuroscience, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and public health. Using a combination of experimental and computational modeling techniques, research in his laboratory focuses on understanding how the human brain learns to interpret and recognize complex sensory signals, such as images and videos. Prof. Sinha's experimental work on these issues involves studying healthy individuals and also those with neurological disorders such as autism. The goal is not only to derive clues regarding the nature and development of human visual skills, but also to create more powerful and robust AI systems.

Prof. Sinha founded Project Prakash in 2005 with the twin objectives of providing treatment to children with severe visual impairments and also understanding mechanisms of learning and plasticity in the brain. This project has provided insights into several fundamental questions about brain function (even some that had remained open for the past three centuries) while also transforming the lives of many blind children by bringing them the gift of sight. Prof. Sinha is a recipient of the Pisart Vision Award from the Lighthouse Guild, the inaugural Asia Game Changers Award, the PECASE – US Government’s highest award for young scientists, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship in Neuroscience, the John Merck Scholars Award for research on developmental disorders, the Jeptha and Emily Wade Award for creative research, the Troland Award from the National Academies, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT Delhi, and the Oberdorfer Award from the ARVO Foundation. He is a founder of Imagen Inc, a company that applies insights regarding human image processing to challenging real-world machine vision problems. Imagen was the winner of the MIT Entrepreneurship competition. Prof. Sinha was named a Global Indus Technovator, and was also inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for creating the world’s smallest reproduction of a printed book.

Prof. V. Srinivasa Chakravarthy

Professor, Department of Biotechnology
Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Title of the talk : Simplifying the brain

Brain is often touted as “one of the most complex objects in the universe,” a perfectly unscientific statement considering our ignorance of the nature of “objects” found all over the universe. In this talk, the speaker argues that part of the reason behind this undue “complexification” of the brain lies in the profoundly descriptive traditions of biology. With the availability of sophisticated measurement tools, - and the big data revolution in the air, -currently there is movement to generate mountains of brain data without making a commensurate effort to develop elegant brain theories that can explain the data. By separating principles from details, engineers create and master complex systems. The brain is no different.
As a demonstration of how it is possible to develop simple brain theories/models that can explain diverse functions of brain systems, the speaker outlines his lab’s (CNS Lab) decade-long work in a brain system called the Basal Ganglia, a part of the brain associated with Parkinson’s disease. Next the speaker describes the CNS lab’s work on spatial navigation functions of another brain system called the hippocampus. Discovery of the “spatial cells” of the hippocampus was awarded the Nobel prize in 2014. The CNS lab had developed a simple model that can explain a wide variety of phenomena related to spatial navigation in 2d (in rats and mice) and in 3D (in bats). Taking the above work to its logical consummation, the speaker outlines his lab’s plans to build a reduced model of the whole brain called the MESOBRAIN. The MESOBRAIN, once realized in software and hardware, is expected to have immense applications in medicine and engineering.

About The Speaker
V. Srinivasa Chakravarthy is a professor in the Department of Biotechnology, IIT Madras. He obtained his BTech from IIT Madras, MS /PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. His received postdoctoral training in the neuroscience department at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. The Computational Neuroscience Lab (CNS Lab) that he heads works on developing models of the basal ganglia, spatial navigation, stroke rehabilitation and neurovascular coupling. He is the author of two books in neuroscience. He is the inventor of a novel script called Bharati, a unified script for Indian languages.

Dr. Sharba Bandopadhyay

Assistant Professor, Electronics & Electrical Communication Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur

Title of the talk : Auditory cortical development – impact of rarestimuli: experiments and theory

Important and salient sensory stimuli occur with low probability and are rare, while high probability stimuli, occurring repeatedly, are usually of less importance and are ignored by an organism. Sensory cortical circuitry development is activity dependent and hence is based on the sensory environment to which an animal is exposed early during development. Particularly in the auditory system, altering the natural auditory environment during a specific period, the critical period, of early development can remarkably alter cortical circuitry and organization. A crucial player in development of cortical circuits is the subplate. Subplate neurons (SPNs), the first born cortical neurons, transient in nature, play an important role in sculpting thalamo-cortical inputs and hence functional cortical circuitry and organization. With a new auditory exposure paradigm before the established auditory critical period (before ear canal opening, ECO) using low probability salient/deviant stimuli in the early auditory environment, we show that the functional auditory cortical (ACX) responses are remarkably altered into adulthood, in a manner specific to the deviant or rare exposure stimulus. The observed plasticity is an outcome of the unique deviant detection properties we find of SPNs, before ECO, with strong selectivity to the rare stimulus. These ages are equivalent to gestational week 25 in humans, suggesting prenatal experience affecting sensory development. A computational network model derived from our experimental results, with spike timing dependent plasticity shows how such long term plasticity can occur. Further, theoretically, using mutual information maximization and sparse coding principles, we show that the outcome of early exposure with our exposure paradigm can be predicted theoretically. Our results thus suggest revision of the established timelines and concept of auditory critical period and may generalize to other sensory systems.

About The Speaker
Sharba Bandyopadhyay did his BTech (1999) in Electronics and Electrical Communication Engineering, IIT Kharagpur, India. He then did his MSE (2001) and PhD (2007) in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA, respectively from the School of Engineering and School of Medicine. Sharba’s Master’s Thesis was on speech coding in the auditory nerve and his doctoral work was on spectral and temporal coding properties of neurons in the cochlear nucleus. Following his PhD he joined the Institute of Systems Research and Department of Biology at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA as a postdoctoral fellow and worked on the sound encoding properties of the auditory cortex and rapid and developmental plasticity in the auditory cortex. He later continued at UMD as Research faculty (2009-2012). At UMD, Sharba worked on answering questions about auditory encoding and plasticity using in-vivo and in vitro 2-photon Ca imaging, 2-photon single neuron stimulation and electrophysiology. With a Wellcome Trust DBT Fellowship, Sharba moved to India to start his own lab. After short a stay at NBRC India, he moved to IIT Kharagpur and is an Assistant Professor in E&ECE from 2015. His research interests include developmental plasticity at the neuronal micro-circuit level and neurodevelopmental disorders. Other than research, Sharba also teaches Neuroscience to Engineering students and other Electrical Engineering and Electrical Communication courses.


Please register here! (Deadline: 15 January, 2020)


Venue: LHB 105 (Ground Floor), Lecture Hall Building, IIT Jodhpur

All attendees are requested to arrive by 9 am on 18 January and attend all the talks on both days.
Day 1 / 18 January 2020
9:00 – 9:30 am Inauguration :: Smt. Mugdha Sinha, Secretary to Government Department of Science and Technology, Govt. Rajasthan
9:30 – 10:30 am Opening Remarks :: Prof. Santanu Chaudhury, Director, IIT Jodhpur
Connectomics and Artificial Intelligence
10:30 – 11:30 am Prof. Neeraj Jain, Director, National Brain Research Centre
Intelligence: A neurobiologist perspective
11:30 am – 12:00 pm Tea break
12:00 – 1:00 pm Prof. Manas Kumar Mandal, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Dept. of HSS, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
How knowledge is acquired, represented, stored, processed, transferred and retrieved
1:00 – 2:00 pm Prof. Laxmidhar Behera, Poonam and Prabhu Goel Chair Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
Can we build conscious machines?
2:00 – 3:00 pm Lunch
3:00 – 4:00 pm Teaser presentation and Poster Symposium
4:00 – 4:30 pm Tea break
4:30 – 6:30 pm Panel Discussion
8:00 pm Workshop Dinner
Day 2 / 19 January 2020
9:30 – 10:30 am Prof. Pawan Sinha, Professor of Vision and Computational Neuroscience, MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Cambridge
Deriving insights regarding visual learning from human studies
10:30 – 11:30 am Tea Break
11:30 – 11:45 am Prof. Srinivasa Chakravarthy, Professor, Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
Simplifying the brain
11:45 am – 12:30 pm Dr. Sharba Bandyopadhyay, Assistant Professor, Electronics and Electrical Communication Engineering, IIT Kharagpur
Auditory cortical development – impact of rare stimuli: experiments and theory
12:30 – 1:30 pm Valedictory
1:30 pm Lunch

Organizing Committee


Prof. Santanu Chaudhury

Director, IIT Jodhpur


Dr. Ankita Sharma (IIT Jodhpur)

Dr. Tapan Gandhi (IIT Delhi)


Dr. Ankita Sharma

Mr. Srinivas Dwivedi

Scientific Committee

Dr. Rajlaxmi Chouhan

Dr. Sushmita Jha

Dr. Sumit Kalra

Dr. Hari Narayanan

Dr. Sushmita Paul

Mr. Hanuman Singh

Media and PR

Dr. Sumit Kalra

Dr. Sushmita Jha

Mr. Dheerendra Yadav

Travel and Hospitality

Dr. Hari Narayanan

Dr. Sushmita Paul

Mr. Darsh Khatwani

Ms. Apeksha Mathur

Ms. Trilotama Singh

Guidelines for the Poster Session

Poster session would give attendees an opportunity to present their work to a large audience and receive valuable feedback. The session includes a 1-minute Teaser presentation (slide) followed by a 1-hour Poster presentation. Please note these instructions carefully:

Poster details and Teaser Submission

Please prepare a teaser of your presentation (1 slide) containing title, name, affiliations, and a brief description of your work not exceeding 1 minute. The teaser template can be found here.
The poster title, presenter and abstract (less than 200 words) along with teaser slide (only in PDF format) must be submitted online at: Poster Registration by Friday, Jan 17, 2020.

Poster Dimension

The poster must be in Portrait Orientation (Vertical) and can have a maximum size A0 (33.11 x 46.81 inches). An example is shown below:

Designing the Poster

Beginners can design their posters in MS PowerPoint by giving slide dimensions not exceeding A0 (33.11 x 46.81 inches).

The title of your poster should appear at the top with letters about 25 mm high. Below the title, put the author name(s) and affiliation(s). The flow of your poster should be from the top left to the bottom right. Use color for highlighting and to make your poster more attractive. Use pictures, diagrams, figures, etc., rather than text wherever possible. The smallest text on your poster should be at least 9 mm high, and the important points should be in a larger size. Use a sans-serif font to make the print easier to read from a distance. High-resolution logos of IITJ and IITD for poster footer may be found here.

During the Workshop

The posters must be printed and brought to the workshop by the authors. Posters must put be up as early as possible, at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the poster session in the designated space. Push pins will be available to mount the poster. If you have any difficulty, please contact the poster session chair/volunteers.

Please prepare a 5-minute presentation of your work, concentrating on the key points, and be ready to interact with the audience that approaches your poster. You must remain present for the entire duration of the poster session.

Best Poster Prizes will be given to the top three posters of the event.
For Poster Session, please contact: Dr. Rajlaxmi Chouhan (


Cognitive Science IDRP
Indian Institute of Technology
NH 65, Nagaur Road, Karwad,
Jodhpur 342037 India