Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit


Analytical Connectionism 2023

Analytical Connectionism - a 2-week summer course on analytical tools for probing neural networks and higher-level cognition

Analytical Connectionism brings together neuroscience, psychology and machine-learning communities, and introduces attendees to analytical methods for neural-network analysis and connectionist theories of higher-level cognition and psychology.

Connectionism, a key theoretical approach in psychology, uses neural-network models to simulate a wide range of phenomena, including perception, memory, decision-making, language, and cognitive control. However, most connectionist models remain, to a certain extent, black boxes, and we lack a mathematical understanding of their behaviours. Recent progress in theoretical neuroscience and machine learning has provided novel analytical tools that have advanced our mathematical understanding of deep neural networks, and can help us unravel these ‘black boxes’.

This course will introduce (1) mathematical methods for neural-network analysis, providing a solid theoretical and analytical overview of the tools available to understand neural-network models, and (2) key connectionist models with links to experimental observations, and which provide important targets for analytical results. To provide context for the applications of these methods, we will discuss phenomena in psychology that still lack an explanation. During the 2-week course you will:

  • attend lectures on theoretical methods and applications, key connectionist models, and experimental observations
  • participate in tutorials, Q&A sessions and panel discussions
  • take part in activities such as poster and networking sessions

The course will end with a 1.5-day workshop, during which you will hear from experts about current state-of-the-art and the limits of our current understanding.

Course Lecturers

Confirmed Lecturers

  • Athena Akrami, Sainsbury Wellcome Centre
  • Maria Eckstein, DeepMind
  • Florent Krzakala, EPFL
  • Jay McClelland, Stanford University
  • Sebastian Musslick, Brown University
  • Haim Sompolinsky, Hebrew University and Harvard University
  • Lenka Zdeborova, EPFL


  • SueYeon Chung, New York University and Flatiron Institute
  • Stefano Sarao Mannelli, Gatsby Unit
  • Andrew Saxe, Gatsby Unit and Sainsbury Wellcome Centre
  • Peter E. Latham, Gatsby Unit
  • I-Chun Lin, Gatsby Unit
    Target Audience

    This course is appropriate for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty in a variety of fields, from psychology and neuroscience, to physics, computer science, and mathematics. Attendees are expected to have a strong background in one discipline and to have made some effort to introduce themselves to a complementary discipline.

    The course is limited to 40 attendees, who will be chosen to balance the representation of different fields. In circumstances where all other things are equal, priority will be given to applicants from underrepresented groups in STEM fields, using positive action under the Equality Act 2010 where appropriate.

    Course Fee

    There are no course fees, but attendees are expected to cover their own travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses.

    Financial assistance may be available for successful applicants who find it difficult to take up a place for financial reasons. If funding becomes available, successful applicants will be asked to complete a financial aid request form if they need assistance. The amount of financial aid available will depend on the course funding from grants and sponsors.

    How to Apply

    Please click the button below to submit the online form by 8am (BST) on Monday 15 May 2023. Unfortunately we are unable to consider late applications under any circumstances.

    Apply Now

    You are advised to submit your application as soon as possible as we reserve the right to close the application early if we receive a high volume of suitable applications.

    Outcome Notification

    We aim to notify applicants of the outcome by email w/c 26 June 2023. Due to the high volume of applications that we may receive, we are unable to provide individual feedback.

    Unfortunately we will not be able to offer everyone a place. Competitive applicants may be invited to join a waiting list in the event that a place becomes available

    How to Apply to Attend the Workshop Only

    There are limited spaces available for researchers who are not taking the course to attend the workshop. Please visit the page 'Workshop' for more information and how to apply.

    Page last updated on 4 May 2023.