Grand Challenge 5: Architecture of Brain and Mind



Aaron Sloman


24 Jan 2004: Additions from Darryl Davis for the links file.
23 Jan 2004: Added post-workshop summary by Aladdin Ayesh
31 Dec 2003: programme revised
30 Dec 2003: Sections added on car parking and abstracts below.


This workshop is meant to be preparation for a larger conference organised by Tony Hoare and Robin Milner on grand challenges to be held in Newcastle, March 29-31 2004, co-located with the CPHC annual conference. Details and news will be posted here:

The March conference will be concerned with all the proposed grand challenges. Each of them will have some time allocated for discussion. Aaron Sloman has been asked to give a presentation on GC5 Architecture of Brain and Mind. The purpose of the workshop on January 5th is to help publicise this particular grand challenge, recruit potential participants, and collect ideas to be presented at the March conference and in documents on the main Grand Challenges website, above.

2000-word submissions to that conference are invited from interested researchers. Deadline for submissions is 1st February. Details are available at the Grand_Challenges web site. The January workshop should help to provide useful background information for anyone planning to submit a paper relating to Cognitive Systems or Cognitive Science. It is expect that most papers will be concerned with developing one of the existing grand challenge proposals, though new ideas that meet the criteria for a grand challenge may also be accepted.


There is an overview of what the 'Architecture of Brain and Mind' grand challenge is about here, including pointers to the main grand challenge website at NESC and various other relevant items. Anyone can read the archived email discussions of GC 5 at the NESC site:

Anyone can join the mailing list. You can't post to it unless you join, though people already on the list can forward comments and suggestions.

Letter from Robin Milner and Tony Hoare to GC Moderators, October 2003


All the original submissions to the first 'Grand Challenge' workshop held in November 2002 in Edinburgh are avalable online. The submissions assigned to 'Panel D' at the workshop, from which the 'Architecture of Brain and Mind' proposal emerged, are available here:
The list of papers gives titles of the documents but not authors. Some of the documents specify authors, but not all do.

The other submissions were handled by other panels,


The January workshop is being organised by With local help also gratefully received from Bob John (rij AT

If you would like to attend, please email both of the organisers as soon as possible. If you have suggestions for the agenda please include them. The workshop can accommodate up to about 40 participants on a first-come first-served basis. There are no funds for travel, and there may be a small registration fee -- to cover coffee, cost of facilities for the workshop, etc. Further details will be sent to accepted participants.


Centre for Computational Intelligence, School of Computing at De Montfort University The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH

Campus map
The meeting is in the Gateway building, labelled 13 on the map.

Directions for getting to the campus

PARKING (Added 30 Dec 2003)

Aladdin has managed to book a small number of parking places at the university car park. Please let him know immediately if you need one. (First come first served).

There is also a pay car park opposite the gateway house building (where our meeting is). If that is full, the next nearby car park is the phoenix car park near Welford Road (the car park entrance may be on New Walk Street). These roads should appear on the University maps.

Additional car parks are available around the city centre near most of the hotels mentioned below (Holiday Inn, St James, and Ibis Hotel).


During the 90 minute lunch break, participants can buy food in the brand new Campus Centre which includes a food hall (Building 3 on the campus map)


For people who need accommodation, the following information has been provided by Aladdin Ayesh and Michelle Dale at DMU:

There are several hotels and guest houses around the University and the train station (mostly walking distance to both). These are few examples: The usual or minimum cost for guest houses is 30 per night, for hotels 50 per night.

ABSTRACTS (Added 30 Dec 2003)

Short abstracts for the presentations are now available here.

If anyone attending the workshop or anyone on the GC5 mailing list, wishes to send me a paper in pdf, html, or plain text (no word or rtf or powerpoint files please) (preferably no more than 20 pages, and preferably no more than 1Mbyte in size, I'll make it available at this site, provided that you also give me a short abstract of at most 100 words (plain text or html only). The paper, or at least the abstract, should give your name, affiliation and an email address or url. (I don't want to have to answer questions about how to get in touch with people.) The paper must include your name (unlike several papers submitted to the original Grand Challenge workshop).

If you prefer, just send me the abstract with a url to the paper if it is already online.

All such submissions should address the main theme of the Grand Challenge, namely how to put together all the pieces studied separately in different subfields of AI, of Psychology, of Neuroscience, etc. i.e. requirements for combining all the different capabilities of a typical human (or intelligent animal).

[Note: PDF produced by latex should use the times font (\usepackage {times}) rather than the default latex font (CMR), which produces PDF files which look blurred and difficult to read in acroread.]


Last modified 30 Dec 2003.
May change again in the light of further suggestions and comments received.

9.30-10.00: Arrival/Coffee/Tea etc.

10.00-10.05 Welcome and information about arrangements for the day.

10.05-10.30 Introductions

People all say briefly who they are and what their interests are. (Assuming that we will not have more than about 20 people present. If the number is much larger, this may be infeasible.)

A.Sloman (with interruptions and help as needed):

Overview of the UK Grand Challenge initiative (5-10 mins) and the history and status of Grand Challenge 5 (Architecture of Brain and Mind) (about 20 mins), including summary of controversies and points of agreement in the email discussions so far:

Everyone: relevant initiatives elsewhere.

The point of this session is to establish the national and international context and especially scope for international collaboration. It may be useful for people who were involved in 'grand challenge' proposals submitted to the EU FP6 last month to summarise what they were proposing to do.

Presentations and discussion

For more details on the presentations listed here see the abstracts.
Joanna Bryson (Bath):
Short presentation on relations between AI architectures and neuroscience.

Edmund Furse (
Short presentation on research methodology, with particular reference to Cognitive Science and learning.

Murray Shanahan (Imperial College)
Intelligence and Imagination: Why We Need Both for Grand Challenge 5

Mark Lee (Aberystwyth)
Developmental Learning and its importance for Brain and Mind

William Edmondson (Birmingham)
Building an Intelligent System with a Brain.

In remaining time:
Discussion of objectives, themes, possible time-tables controversies about what should and should not be in the challenge (see the GC5 mailing list discussion).

12.30-2pm Lunch and informal discussion

2.00-2.15 pm
Sophie Kain (Thales):

A proposal for networking related to the Grand Challenge.

Possible final sessions

The following agenda items may be substantially revised in the light of the morning discussion.


Brainstorming attempt to collect a first draft set of major headings and sub-headings to go into a grand challenge proposal, to succeed these documents:

3.00-3.45 pm
Begin discussion of list of major gaps in current knowledge relevant to the Grand Challenge.

Attempt to identify major gaps or unsolved problems in our current knowledge and understanding.
Example headings for list of gaps: A related draft list of knowledge gaps can be found here:

A 'Grand' challenge project needs to work backwards from a distant goal about which we have many gaps in knowledge, instead of taking what we already know how to do and proposing extensions and applications. I.e. 'backward chaining' not 'forward chaining' should dominate project planning, though both are required in the detailed work.

3.45-4.00 Break, if needed.

4.00-4.30 pm
Discussion of next steps, including, possibly:


URLs contributed by interested participants are available here

Last updated: 3 Jan 2004
Aaron Sloman