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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Informatics : Informatics

Undergraduate Course: Computational Cognitive Science (INFR09035)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Informatics CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) Credits10
Home subject areaInformatics Other subject areaNone
Course website Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course aims to introduce students to the basic concepts and methodology needed to implement and analyse computational models of cognition. It considers the fundamental issues of using a computational approach to explore and model cognition. In particular, we explore the way that computational models relate to, are tested against, and illuminate psychological theories and data.

The course will introduce both symbolic and subsymbolic modelling methodologies, and provide practical experience with implementing models. The symbolic part will focus on cognitive architectures,
while the subsymbolic part will introduce probabilistic models.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Successful completion of Year 2 of an Informatics single or combined honours degree. Students who have completed Year 2 of another degree will also be accepted provided they have some programming experience. Informatics 1: Cognitive Science is strongly recommended.
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?No
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2011/12 Semester 1, Available to all students (SV1) WebCT enabled:  No Quota:  None
Location Activity Description Weeks Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
CentralLecture1-11 14:00 - 14:50
CentralLecture1-11 14:00 - 14:50
First Class Week 1, Tuesday, 14:00 - 14:50, Zone: Central. MST Meadows LT
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours:Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)2:00
Delivery period: 2011/12 Semester 1, Part-year visiting students only (VV1) WebCT enabled:  No Quota:  None
Location Activity Description Weeks Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
CentralLecture1-11 14:00 - 14:50
CentralLecture1-11 14:00 - 14:50
First Class Week 1, Tuesday, 14:00 - 14:50, Zone: Central. MST Meadows LT
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours:Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
- Demonstrate knowledge of the basic concepts and methodologies of cognitive modelling, by being able to design simple cognitive models for sample problems.
- Demonstrate understanding of the relationship between computational models and psychological theories, by being able to critically assess the psychological adequacy of a given model.
- Qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate computational models of cognition using a range of techniques, when given a model and a set of experimental data that it is supposed to account for.
- Demonstrate an awareness of the most important computational approaches to cognitive modelling, by being able to use these approaches to formalise theories that are couched in potentially
vague and ambiguous terms (e.g., natural language).
- Use existing modelling tools (e.g., Cogent or Matlab) to design and test computer implementations of cognitive models (both existing models from the literature and simple models they have designed themselves).
Assessment Information
Written Examination 70
Assessed Assignments 30
Oral Presentations 0

The assignments will require students to develop or modify cognitive models using the Cogent cognitive modelling package or other software for probabilistic modelling. Students will also be required to analyse the adequacy of their models with respect to psychological data, and critically evaluate models and ideas presented in course readings (e.g., Marr&ęs three levels of analysis).
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus - An introduction/review of the idea of computational approaches to studying cognition; the mind as information-processing system; Marr&ęs levels of analysis (computational, algorithmic, implementation).
- The general motivations underlying the computational modelling of cognition, and different kinds of questions that can be answered (e.g., why do cognitive processes behave as they do, or what algorithms might be used to carry out this behaviour? What kinds of information are used, or how is this information processed/integrated over time?)
- Mechanistic/algorithmic approaches and issues addressed by these approaches: parallel versus serial processing, flow of information, timing effects.
- Rational/probabilistic approaches and issues addressed by these approaches: adaptation to the environment, behaviour under uncertainty, learning, timing effects.
- General issues: top-down versus bottom-up processing, online processing, integration of multiple sources of information.
- Methodology and issues in the development and evaluation of cognitive models: Which psychological data are relevant? What predictions are made by a model? How could these be tested?
- Modelling techniques: in the assignments, students will experiment with both symbolic (rulebased) and subsymbolic (probabilistic) cognitive models.
- Example models: in a number of areas we will look at the theories proposed and different ways of modelling them. Areas discussed will include several of the following: language processing, reasoning, memory, high-level vision, categorization. Specific models will be introduced and analysed with regard to relevant psychological data.
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list - Cooper, Richard P. 2002. Modelling High-Level Cognitive Processes. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, NJ.
- pp. 19-29 of: Marr, David. 1982. Vision: A Computational Approach. Freeman and Co., San Francisco.
- Additional readings will be added to cover material on Bayesian/probabilistic models.
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Lectures: 20
Tutorials: 5
Timetabled Laboratories: 0
Non-timetabled assessed assignments: 30
Private Study/Other: 45
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Nigel Goddard
Tel: (0131 6)51 3091
Course secretaryMiss Tamise Totterdell
Tel: 0131 650 9970
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