Peter Dayan receives the distinction of being elected AAAS Fellow

Peter Dayan, Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). As a new member of the AAAS section of neuroscience, Peter Dayan was elected for leadership in theoretical and computational neuroscience, with a focus on neurobiological mechanisms that underlie reinforcement learning and their role in decision making.

The formal election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed by one’s peers, based on scientifically distinguished efforts to advance science and its applications. The official inauguration ceremony will be held on February 15, 2020, at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2020 AAAS Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington.

Peter Dayan’s research focuses on decision-making processes in the brain, the role of neuromodulators as well as neuronal malfunctions in psychiatric diseases. Dayan has long worked at the interface between natural and engineered systems for learning and choice, and is also regarded as a pioneer in the field of Artificial Intelligence.

Peter Dayan studied mathematics at Cambridge University and received his doctorate from the University of Edinburgh. After postdoctoral research at the Salk Institute and the University of Toronto he moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston as assistant professor in 1995. In 1998, he moved to London to help co-found the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, which became one of the best-known institutions for research in theoretical neuroscience, and was its Director from 2002 to 2017. He was also Deputy Director of the Max Planck UCL Center for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research.

In 2018, he moved to Tübingen to become a Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics. He was also awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, which is Germany´s richest research prize, and will join the Department of Computer Science at the University of Tübingen.

In 2012, Peter Dayan received the Rumelhart Prize for Contributions to the Theoretical Foundations of Human Cognition and, in 2017, the Brain Prize from the Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Foundation. In 2018, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of the United Kingdom.

The AAAS is the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society and a leading publisher of cutting-edge research through its Science family of journals, AAAS has individual members in more than 91 countries around the globe. The formation of AAAS in 1848 marked the emergence of a national scientific community in the United States of America. AAAS was the first permanent organization formed to promote the development of science and engineering at the national level in the US and to represent the interests of all its disciplines.

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