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Salk investigator Terrence Sejnowski wins IEEE Frank Rosenblatt Award

Terrence Sejnowski

Terrence Sejnowski

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world's largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity, has chosen Salk researcher Terrence Sejnowski as the recipient of the 2013 IEEE Frank Rosenblatt Award "for contributions to the advancement of the design, practice, techniques or theory in biologically and linguistically motivated computational paradigms."

Sejnowski, professor and head of the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory, was selected for the honor in recognition of his outstanding contributions to computational neuroscience. A leader in the field, he conducted trailblazing work that helped spark the neural networks revolution in computing in the 1980s. He is also recognized for his important contributions to artificial and real neural network algorithms and applying signal-processing models to neuroscience.

A physicist by early training and a pioneer in using computers to understand brain function, Sejnowski models how interactions among groups of neurons are able to produce complex behavior; he has also used this understanding to develop particular computer algorithms— called artificial neural networks—that are able to solve practical engineering problems, including methods to reduce background noise in cellphone conversations and headphones. Sejnowski has focused his recent studies on how the brain is capable of learning and storing memories and exploring the brain mechanisms responsible for triggering plasticity at synapses between neurons—research that may also provide critical clues to how memories are consolidated during sleep states.

The IEEE Frank Rosenblatt Award is named in honor of Frank Rosenblatt, who is widely regarded as one of the founders of neural networks. His work influenced and anticipated many modern neural network approaches. For nearly a century, the IEEE awards program has paid tribute to technical professionals whose exceptional achievements and research have made a lasting impact on technology, society and the engineering profession.