Rajesh Rao seeks to understand the human brain through computational modeling, on two fronts: developing computer models of our minds, and using tech to decipher the 4,000-year-old script of the Indus valley civilization.
Rajesh Rao is looking for the computational principles underlying the brain's remarkable ability to learn, process and store information -- hoping to apply this knowledge to the task of building adaptive robotic systems and artificially intelligent agents.
Some of the questions that motivate his research include: How does the brain learn efficient representations of novel objects and events occurring in the natural environment? What are the algorithms that allow useful sensorimotor routines and behaviors to be learned? What computational mechanisms allow the brain to adapt to changing circumstances and remain fault-tolerant and robust?
By investigating these questions within a computational and probabilistic framework, it is often possible to derive algorithms that not only provide functional interpretations of neurobiological properties but also suggest solutions to difficult problems in computer vision, speech, robotics and artificial intelligence.
“Deciphering the [Indus Valley] script is not just an intellectual puzzle; it’s become a question that’s become deeply intertwined with the politics and the cultural history of South Asia.”
“I’d like to tell you about how I learned to stop worrying and love the challenge posed by the Indus script.”
“The Mayans started speaking to us in the 20th century, but the Indus civilization remains silent.”