[Seminar] Emergent properties: From squid visual systems to human language representation by Jing Cai


Monday, April 1, 2024 - 10:00 to 11:00


Seminar Room L4F01


Date: Monday, April 1st 2024

Time: 10:00 – 11:00 

Venue:  Seminar Room L4F01, Lab 4

Speaker: Dr. Jing Cai, Instructor

Affiliation: Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital


Title: Emergent properties: From squid visual systems to human language representation.


What do cephalopod squid eye and human brains have in common? They are both complex networks showing emergent macroscopic properties that cannot be obtained from linearly superposition of single building units. One of the most fundamental limitations in our ability to understand complex systems is the small number of fundamental models and theories currently in use that are capable of capturing emergent dynamics. In this talk, I will combine computational modeling, biology, statistical physics, deep learning, and neuroscience to generate novel approaches about emergent phenomena in biological systems. Specifically, I will apply recent physics theory to study the emergence of squid lenses from proteins, utilize multiple-neuronal recordings to study squid’s polarized vision, and employ artificial natural language processing models that explains how language is encoded by neurons in the human brain. These together, will not only provide novel combination of physical and deep learning models into the study of collective behaviors in complex systems, but also provide novel insights into the study of emergent properties in biological systems.


Jing Cai is currently an Instructor at the Harvard Medical School, Neurosurgery Department in Massachusetts General Hospital, where she began as a research fellow in 2018. Prior to this position, she was a postdoctoral researcher in the Physics Department at the University of Pennsylvania, where she received her Ph.D. in 2015. She has also worked at the core modeling team at J. P. Morgan Chase for a year and a half after obtaining her Ph.D.

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