Peter Erdi, the Luce Professor of Complex Systems Studies at Kalamazoo College, served as the honorary chairman of the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks in July. The conference, with 850 participants in Budapest, Hungary, aimed to build bridges between theories of biological and artificial neural networks, sometimes referred to as natural and computational intelligence respectively.
Artificial neural networks are a set of algorithms, inspired by functions found in the human brain, that recognize patterns. Such systems learn to perform tasks by considering examples, through processes such as image recognition, for example. The networks might learn about those images to identify similar images, then label them and organize them.
The conference featured plenary talks from world-renowned speakers in neural network theory and applications, computational neuroscience, and robotics and distributed intelligence. Along with poster presentations, the conference included special sessions, competitions, tutorials and workshops.
“The conference was a big success in many respects,” Erdi said, noting commendations he received from colleagues applauding the conference, the city of Budapest and the organizers.
Erdi received the 2018 Florence J. Lucasse Fellowship for Excellence in Scholarship. It is the highest award bestowed by the Kalamazoo College faculty, and it honors the recipient’s contributions in creative work, research and publication. His Lucasse Lecture was titled “Ranking: The Hidden Rules of the Social Game We All Play” after a nonfiction book he has in production. The book examines how and why humans rank certain aspects of our lives and how those rankings are viewed.
Erdi has been a prolific researcher with more than 40 publications and two books published since joining Kalamazoo College. In that time, he has given more than 60 invited lectures across the world. He is also serving as the editor-in-chief of Cognitive Systems Research and as a vice president of the International Neural Network Society.
Support for Erdi’s research program has come from varied sources such as collaborative National Science Foundation awards, NASA, the Hungarian National Research Council, Pharmacia, Pfizer and the European Integrated Project grant program. He has also helped to establish a popular study abroad program in his native homeland of Budapest, Hungary, where he holds a research professor position at the Wigner Research Centre for Physics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.