COMP 40260: Connectionism and Dynamical Systems (2016/17)

This is a 12 week module devoted to Connectionism and Dynamical Systems modelling within Cognitive Science. We will have one lecture and one lab session most weeks. The material is very 'hands-on'. You will not benefit from the course unless you participate fully in labs. The course material will be presented below, with associated labs. We will take things slowly, with lab reviews in lectures. Your feedback will help to ensure that material progresses at an appropriate pace. Lab material will be flexible and may be adjusted to suit the needs and wishes of the class.


Elman, J. E. et al. "Rethinking Innateness: A Connectionist Perspective on Development", MIT Press, 4th ed., 1999.

You will need this textbook for the course. It costs EUR 30 or thereabouts.

Additional reading that is relevant to the course is provided at this web page.


3 written exercises. 1 short essay.

Topic Notes Lab More
[1] Introduction: Artificial Neuron Models. Lecture notes: [Notes 1: pdf] Lab 1 (1). The Neuron Doctrine, Redux
(2). From Logical Neurons to Poetic Embodiments of Mind
[2] History. Perceptrons. Delta Rule. Lecture notes: [Notes 2: pdf] Lab 2  
[3] Training Networks Lecture notes: [Notes 3: pdf] Lab 3 An excellent historical overview of network research.
Exercise 1: Due Friday, Feb 24th, 2017 Exercise 1
[4] Bias and Generalization. Representation Lecture notes: [Notes 4: pdf] Lab 4  
[5] Representation, Autoassociation Lecture notes: [Notes 5: pdf] Lab 5  
[6] Dimension Reduction, Kohonen Maps, Emergence Lecture notes: [Notes 6: pdf] Lab 6  
[7] Language Lecture notes: [Notes 7: pdf] Lab 7  
Exercise 2: Due March 31, 2017 Exercise 2
[8] Dynamic Systems Theory Lecture notes: [Notes 8: pdf] Lab 8 skipped. Move straight on to Lab 9.  
[9] Language, Ontogenetic Development, Dynamic Systems. Lecture notes: [Notes 9: pdf] Lab 9  
[10] Dynamics Continued Lecture notes: [Notes 10: pdf] Lab 10 (final lab)  
Exercise 3: Due Friday May 12th, 2017 Exercise 3
Essay: Due Friday, May 19th, 2017 Essay topics