Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

Current Winner - 2022

Arthur B. McDonald Fellowships

Blake Richards

Arthur B. McDonald Fellowships

School of Computer Science and Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery

McGill University

Blake Richards’s research program exists at the intersection of neuroscience and artificial intelligence (AI), where he has made notable advances in the understanding of how learning in the real brain may relate to modern AI algorithms. The broad goal of Richards’s laboratory at McGill University is to understand the general principles of learning that apply to both natural and machine learning. The human brain is the most sophisticated learning machine known to exist. Even with major advances in the last decade, AI still cannot completely match human learning.

Richards’s lab studies learning in real neural circuits, both to understand the brain and design new machine learning systems for AI applications. One of his goals is to apply his team’s ever-increasing knowledge about human memories to develop AI memory systems that endows them with greater flexibility and insight, including the ability to recognize key events in the past, imagine potential futures and forget irrelevant information. This will lead to novel AI systems that remember their past in a more human-like manner, endowing them with greater understanding of the world and easier interactions with human beings. As he and his students continue to break new ground in neuroscience and machine learning, Richards regularly shares their findings through public outreach activities, as an organizer of scientific events and through open science initiatives, including the development of a data-sharing platform in neuroscience.

For additional information or to request photos of NSERC Prize winners, please contact Media Relations.