How can we model human task performance? How do our brains combine visual and auditory information? What is the ideal patient monitor for tired emergency doctors?
The Master’s degree programme in Computational Cognitive Science (CCS) focuses on cognitive science and neuroscience and their applications. CCS gives you insights into human cognition, language, and the brain and teaches you to use this knowledge in applied settings, such as human-computer interaction and computerized learning tools. By leveraging knowledge of human cognition, for example, you can optimize how an artificial intelligence system communicates with human users and develop virtual reality applications for education or simulation models of human task performance.
Two questions form the basis for this programme:
To answer these questions, you have to know how humans perform tasks and how this affects potential interactions. How do humans acquire new skills and how do they learn to adapt to a new task? In addition, it is important to think about how humans communicate and apply this to human-machine communication. Language is a natural way of human communication, and this may or may not be a good choice for communication with a machine, depending on the circumstances.
The cognitive aspect of the programme particularly interested me as I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the brain and the applications of AI in various fields.
Pauline Schomaker- Student of the MSc Computational Cognitive Science
I chose to pursue a Master’s in Computational Cognitive Science after completing my Bachelor’s in Information Science, with a minor in Artificial Intelligence, at the Faculty of Arts. The cognitive aspect of the programme particularly interested me as I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the brain and the applications of AI in various fields.
The research-oriented aspect of the programme was something I hadn’t expected, but I found it extremely valuable. I was able to work on a research project of my own choosing, using real data and EEGs. The guidance from my supervisor and the weekly meetings were extremely helpful. Also, the small class size allowed me to form close relationships with my peers and engage in meaningful discussions outside class.
The programme has provided a strong foundation for my upcoming Master’s thesis. I have already worked on small projects, such as creating a cognitive model for an opponent in a game and analysing the usability of different apps for elderly people. I am interested in combining my thesis with an internship at a company, where I can apply what I have learned and gain hands-on experience. Overall, I believe that this programme has equipped me with the tools and knowledge for a successful career in cognitive science and AI.
My job is as multifaceted as the programme is
'I got a job at the UMCG after writing a thesis on anaesthesia monitors. Anaesthesiologists view graphs on monitors during surgery. We wanted to develop a monitor that translates graphs into statistical patterns. It proved that anaesthesiologists cannot recognize these patterns. Maybe a computer can? Could a model predict what's going to happen next? This is the focus of my research.
I also analyse data for the anaesthesia department. There is too much data for the physicians to process. You need to find the right balance of drugs for each patient, which is why it is important that physicians can make good use of the available data. My job is as multifaceted and practical as the programme was. I get to do research and I’m also involved in various projects!’