Chris Eliasmith



I'm the lab head, and also director of the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience (of which the CNRG is a part). I'm jointly appointed in Philosophy and Systems Design Engineering, and cross- appointed to Computer Science. I have supervised students in each of these departments as well as Biology and Psychology. I did my undergrad in Engineering (Waterloo), and my PhD in Philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis. My first book with Charlie Anderson is called 'Neural Engineering' (MIT Press, 2003). My second called 'How to build a brain' (Oxford University Press) will be out in 2013.

Research Interests

I'm interested in everything that is currently being worked on in the lab, including perception, motor control, learning, and cognition in the brain. I'm particularly interested in how all of the various aspects of the brain work in concert to generate sophisticated, adaptive behaviour. To this end, I work on developing mathematical and conceptual tools that allow us to rigorously test hypotheses about the principles of neural computation and biological cognition. I think such hypotheses need to be highly constrained by all of the various sources of information we have about brain function (e.g. electrophysiology, neuroanatomy, molecular biology, fMRI, behaviour, etc.). I also think the best way to test such hypotheses is through detailed simulation.

Please see my main personal page for more information.



  • Chris Eliasmith (2000) How neurons mean: A neurocomputational theory of representational content. Master's thesis, Washington University, St. Louis, MO.  Abstract  PDF

Books and Book Chapters

  • Aaron R. Voelker, Chris Eliasmith (2021) Programming Neuromorphics Using the Neural Engineering Framework. Nitish V. Thakor, editor. Programming Neuromorphics Using the Neural Engineering Framework, pages 1–43. Springer Singapore, Singapore.  Abstract  PDF  DOI
  • Chris Eliasmith (2015) On the Eve of Artificial Minds. In Thomas Metzinger and Jennifer Windt, editors, Open MIND. Frankfurt am Main: MIND Group.  Abstract  PDF
  • Chris Eliasmith (2015) Building a behaving brain. In Gary Marcus and Jeremy Freeman, editors, The Future of the Brain: Essays by the World's Leading Neuroscientists. Princeton University Press.  Abstract  PDF
  • Chris Eliasmith (2013) How to build a brain: A neural architecture for biological cognition. Oxford University Press, New York, NY.  Abstract
  • Terrence C. Stewart, Chris Eliasmith (2012) Compositionality and biologically plausible models. In Wolfram Hinzen, Markus Werning, and Edouard Machery, editors, Oxford Handbook of Compositionality. Oxford University Press.  Abstract  PDF
  • Maya Carrillo, Esau Villatoro-Tello, Aurelio Lopez-Lopez, Chris Eliasmith, Manuel Montes-y-Gomez, Luis Villasenor-Pineda (2009) Representing Context Information for Document Retrieval. In Troels Andreasen, Ronald R. Yager, Henrik Bulskov, Henning Christiansen, and Henrik Legind Larsen, editors, Flexible Query Answering Systems, FQAS 2009, pages 239-250. Springer.  Abstract  PDF
  • Chris Eliasmith (2009) Neurocomputational models: Theory and applications. In John Bickle, editor, Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Neuroscience. Oxford University Press.  Abstract
  • Chris Eliasmith (2009) Dynamics, control, and cognition. In Philip Robbins and Murat Aydede, editors, Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition. Cambridge University Press.  Abstract  PDF
  • Chris Eliasmith (2007) Computational neuroscience. In Paul Thagard, editor, Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science. Elsevier.  Abstract
  • Chris Eliasmith (2006) Neurosemantics and categories. In Claire Lefebvre and Henri Cohen, editors, Handbook of Categorization in Cognitive Science. Elsevier.  Abstract  PDF
  • Chris Eliasmith, William Bechtel (2003) Symbolic versus subsymbolic computation and representation. In Lynn Nadel, editor, Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. MacMillian.  Abstract
  • Chris Eliasmith, Charles H. Anderson (2003) Neural engineering: Computation, representation, and dynamics in neurobiological systems. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.  Abstract
  • Andy Clark, Chris Eliasmith (2002) Philosophical issues in brain theory and connectionism. In Michael A. Arbib, editor, Handbook of Brain Theory and Neural Networks. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2nd edition.  Abstract  External link

Journal Articles

Conference and Workshop Papers

Technical Reports and Preprints

Blog Posts