The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T +44 (0)1227 764000
Professor of Cognition & Logic
I belong to the following research groups:
I have two main areas of research interest: cognitive neuroscience and formal methods.
Cognitive NeuroscienceIn a broad sense, I am interested in how the mind emerges from the brain to generate a spectrum of cognitive capacities. In this respect, I undertake work focusing on the following capacities: perception, consciousness, attention, language, emotions and decision-making. I study these topics using a mixture of methods, which includes behavioural and electrophysiological (EEG) experimentation and connectionist and symbolic modelling.
Study of these topics is especially timely, since modern brain imaging techniques are beginning to reveal the physical mechanisms from which cognition emerges, thus, enabling biologically plausible models of cognition to be constructed. In this area I am currently working on the following topics:
- emotions, salience sensitive control of human attention and computational modelling (the EPSRC funded Salience project);
- reinforcement learning investigations of human decision making;
- using neural networks to model how subliminal visual stimuli can initiate motor responses;
- formal methods in HCI and cognition.
Formal MethodsFormal Methods are mathematically based specification and analysis techniques. They allow the behaviour of systems to be described abstractly, i.e. without having to prescribe implementation details, and then they enable this behaviour to be analysed. Such analysis might amount to checking that a particular property holds over a system or that a certain form of degenerate state cannot be reached. Such analysis can, for example, be used to give greater confidence that a system behaves as intended. Furthermore, you should note that I use the term "system" very generally, as I believe that formal methods are applicable to modelling a wide spectrum of systems: biological, physics, artistic, as well as computing.
There are a wealth of available formal specification notations, e.g. Z, B, CSP, CCS, LOTOS, Timed Automata, StateCharts, Temporal Logics and also many associated analysis techniques, e.g. Model Checking, Theorem Proving, Stochastic Analysis. I have performed research on both the theory underlying formal methods and on application of these methods. I have ongoing research in the following area.
- formal methods for real-time, multimedia and stochastic systems;
- exotic applications of formal methods
- formal methods in distributed systems;
- relating state-based and behavioural specification techniques;
- viewpoint specification using formal methods;
- interval temporal logic.
General TopicsIf you are interested to perform research, especially at level, in any of these areas, mail me.
The following are particular suggestions for PhD work:
- experimental studies of human attention using behavioural and EEG methods,
- neural modelling of frontal lobe function,
- connectionism and consciousness,
- brain-computer interface,
- the role of emotions in human decision-making,
- experimental and computational exploration of human reasoning,
- a computational exploration of human attention and
- computational modelling of cognition
- A list of organizations and events I have been involved with (programme committee memberships etc).
- A list of (current and past) PhD students.
- A list of the projects I am involved with.
- Authored books:
- Formal specification of distributed multimedia systems. G.S. Blair, L. Blair, H. Bowman, and A. Chetwynd. University College London Press, September 1997.
- Concurrency Theory: Calculi and Automata for Modelling Untimed and Timed Concurrent Systems. H. Bowman and R.S. Gomez. Springer, January 2006.
- Edited books:
- FMOODS'97, IFIP TC6 WG6.1 International Conference on Formal Methods for Open Object-based Distributed Systems. Howard Bowman and John Derrick, editors, volume 2, Canterbury, UK, July 1997. Chapman and Hall.
- Formal Methods Elsewhere. Howard Bowman, editor, volume 43 of Electronic Notes in Theoretical Computer Science. Elsevier Science, June 2001. A Satellite Workshop of FORTE-PSTV-2000 devoted to applications of formal methods to areas other than communication protocols and software engineering.
- Formal methods for distributed processing, a survey of object-oriented approaches. H. Bowman and J. Derrick, editors. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, September 2001. Copies of this publication can be orderd here.
- Proceedings of the eighth neural computation and psychology workshop, connectionist models of cognition and perception II. H. Bowman and C. Labiouse, editors, volume 15 of Progress in Neural Processing, Singapore, April 2004. World Scientific. Copies of this publication can be ordered here.
My teaching is in the are of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience. Specifically, I teach a course on how the brain implements the mind. This focuses on the neural networks in the brain, how they compute, learn and support cognitive capacities, such as, memory perception and language. The key course that covers this material is Cognitive Neural Networks.
Despite what my friends and family might think, I do have some interests outside academia. For example, I have in the past done a lot of drawing.