6.803 | Spring 2019 | Undergraduate

The Human Intelligence Enterprise

Schedule of Activities

Larson grounds symbols in perception


“Intrinsic Representation: Bootstrapping Symbols From Experience” (PDF) by Stephen Larson

“Hippocampal Place Cells Recorded in the Wilson Lab at MIT” (video) by Matt Wilson 

Optional Supplement

Larson’s paper is a shorter version of his MEng thesis. The following link is only for those who are eager to learn more about self-organizing maps or who want to see an example of a premium MEng thesis. The thesis includes very clear descriptions of the algorithms used in map adjustment, growing, clustering, and cross-domain cluster association:

“Intrinsic Representation: Bootstrapping Symbols From Experience” (PDF) by Stephen Larson.

The rat video is illustrative of a great deal of work, of which the following is an example:

“Biasing the content of hippocampal replay during sleep” by David J. Foster and Matthew A Wilson


[Note: If you discuss the paper or the assignment with another student—which we encourage—indicate whom you have talked with in your submitted composition. Of course your submitted composition must be written entirely by you.]

On a total of one side of one sheet of paper, using 10 pt type or larger, with standard interline spacing and margins, respond to all the following:

You are to write an MIT press release as if the work reported by Larson had just been completed at MIT in CSAIL. You are absolutely not to describe what you would say if you wrote a press release; you are to write a press release.

Your press release should have the elements suggested in the sample, including the usual journalistic requirement for who, what, where, when, and how, all of which are illustrated in the first paragraph.

Include in your press release, and label for our easy identification, the following:

  • Your choices for the vision, steps, news, and contributions.
  • Your choices for slogan, salient, and surprise.

This assignment seems to invite humor, and if you feel like writing something funny, do so. But also be sure to take the paper seriously, and interdigitate a serious assessment with your jokes.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2019
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments