[Comp-neuro] 3 Post-doc positions on the relation of information and causation (Prof. Giulio Tononi)

albantakis albantakis at wisc.edu
Tue Oct 8 17:52:19 CEST 2013


Up to 3 postdoctoral positions are available at the center for sleep and 
consciousness science in the laboratory of Dr. Giulio Tononi (University 
of Wisconsin, Madison), to study the relation of information and 
causation within the framework of the integrated information theory of 
consciousness (Balduzzi & Tononi, 2008; Tononi, 2012).

Immediate funding is available for a range of projects related to 
foundational questions regarding the ontological status of information, 
and its relation to causation, emergence, adaptation, evolution, and 
consciousness (see detailed scope of work below).

Successful candidates will work at the center for sleep and 
consciousness science, dedicated to a broad range of research problems 
focused on two neurobiological problems -- the mechanisms and functions 
of sleep and the neural substrates of consciousness.

Candidates are expected to have strong training in an analytically 
rigorous discipline such as theoretical biology/neuroscience, physics, 
mathematics, computer science, or engineering. Experience in information 
theory, complex systems, and an interest in the philosophy of 
information/causation are a plus. Programming experience is required 
(knowledge of MATLAB and/or C++ is of advantage).

Appointments are renewable from year to year for up to 3 years, starting 
as soon as possible or until the positions are filled. Post-doc salaries 
correspond to the National Institutes of Health National Research 
Service Award (NRSA) stipend schedule for postdoc trainees, based on 
number of years of postdoctoral experience.

Candidates should send a CV, brief statement of previous research and 
future research interests, and email addresses and phone numbers of 
three references to: Giulio Tononi, gtononi at wisc.edu.

Balduzzi D, Tononi G (2008) Integrated information in discrete dynamical 
systems: motivation and theoretical framework. /PLoS Comput Biol/ 
4:e1000091.

Tononi G (2012) Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness: An 
Updated Account. /Arch Ital Biol/ 150:56--90.

The scope of work will range from:

-theoretical development and computational implementation of the notion 
of intrinsic causal information

-causal analysis, including the systematic use of perturbations, 
counterfactuals, and irreducibility

-analysis of complex systems in terms their causal/informational structure

-meaning (understanding and control) from the intrinsic perspective of 
the system

-actual causation (causal explanation)

-examining similarities and differences between existing notions of 
information and causation (Shannon information, algorithmic 
information,...)

-defining emergence in terms of the spatio-temporal grain size at which 
a system of elements achieves a maximum of causal power

-evolutionary/adaptive aspects of information/causation including 
simulations based on small adaptive neural networks (animats), which 
evolve and adapt to an environment that requires sensitivity to context 
for survival

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