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Zeb Kurth-Nelson

Jan 28, 2019 | 04:00 PM

Name:          Zeb Kurth-Nelson

Affiliations: DeepMind, London, UK,

                     Max Planck-UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research

                     University College London, London, UK

Title:             Prefrontal cortex as a meta-reinforcement learning system


Over the past 20 years, neuroscience research on reward-based learning has converged on a canonical model, under which the neurotransmitter dopamine ‘stamps in’ associations between situations, actions and rewards by modulating the strength of synaptic connections between neurons. However, a growing number of recent findings have placed this standard model under strain. We now draw on recent advances in artificial intelligence to introduce a new theory of reward-based learning. Here, the dopamine system trains another part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, to operate as its own free-standing learning system. This new perspective accommodates the findings that motivated the standard model, but also deals gracefully with a wider range of observations, providing a fresh foundation for future research.

Time & Location

Jan 28, 2019 | 04:00 PM

KL 32 / 202