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Minds & Machines (M&M)

Students who enter the Minds & Machines program perform cutting-edge scientific research.

They explore the nature of reasoning, perception, and learning, develop computational cognitive models, create intelligent artificial agents, engineer cognitive technology, and address philosophical questions about the fundamental nature of the human mind.

The Minds & Machines program offers students the resources to scientifically investigate the nature of cognition and to apply this knowledge to technological application and innovation. Students meet biweekly to interact with fellow students and faculty, researchers with recent doctorate degrees, and graduate students from the Cognitive Science department. Ample opportunities are available for involvement with current research projects in Rensselaer’s dedicated labs.

Facilities include the CogWorks Laboratory, where research is performed on the interplay of human cognition, perception, and action in routine interactive behavior (such as programming a VCR), the Rensselaer Artificial Intelligence and Reasoning (R.A.I.R.) Laboratory, where intelligent virtual agents and robots are developed, and the Visually Guided Action Laboratory, where the interplay between vision and action (such as avoiding a collision with a moving object) is investigated through the use of the Virtual Reality Room.

Undergraduate Program

Students in the undergraduate Minds & Machines program must select a dual major — one major reflecting the ‘Minds’ part of the program, the other the ‘Machines’ part.

Two popular combinations are computer science and psychology — appropriate for students interested in cognitive modeling and gaming — and computer science and philosophy, for students interested in the philosophy of mind and artificial intelligence.

Students interested in human-computer interaction could combine information technology with psychology. Students interested in robotics or perception and action could combine computer and systems engineering, mechanical engineering, or electrical engineering with psychology.

Any combination of majors proposed in the spirit of the Minds & Machines program will be welcomed for consideration.

Learn more about the Minds & Machines program

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