My name is David Cox.
I'm a neuroscientist and computer vision / machine learning researcher at Harvard University. I'm interested in understanding how our brains enable us to understand the torrent of information that we receive through our senses. I believe that understanding how the brain works will enable us to build machines that work the same way, and that this, in turn, will change the world.
I run a lab in Harvard's Center for Brain Science that is full of some of the smartest and most hard-working people I've known. My lab is affiliated with the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. You can find a more formal (and probably out of date) academic CV here, or you can just check out my Google Scholar profile.
My lab is still young, but already our alumni include several professors who have started their own labs and founders of several exciting startups.
Since 2016, I've led the ARIADNE project, an ambitious multi-university effort to reverse engineer visual cortex. The project is funded by IARPA, and you can find some of our press coverage here. The project will generate one of the largest neuroscience datasets ever collected, with the goal of using this data to inform the development of new brain-inspired machine learning algorithms.
I enjoy teaching and am paricularly excited about the interaction of technology and education. I built The Fundamentals of Neuroscience, one of the earliest Massive Open Online Courses at Harvard. Together with an amazing team, we've tried to push the boundaries of what is possible with online courses. The course has been visited by over half a million people in 192 countries. On campus, I use this online course to experiment with "flipped" classroom teaching. It's a lot of fun. We've also been thrilled to collaborate with colleagues in education research on using our course as a platform for exploring what works in online education.
I feel strongly that scientists need to engage with the public. I engage in a variety of outreach activities, from teaching kids, to public speaking, to organizing and participating in events aimed at the public. I'm glad that the public is interested in what I study, and I'm keen to share my passion for science and engineering with others. I also like to think about the ways in which machine learning and neuroscience technologies will impact society; this is something that I do through my role as a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School.
My lab usually has a startup or two in the works, and we've had collaborative relationships with many different companies, including Google, Xerox, Intel, and Northrop Grumman. I feel fortunate to work on something that can be simultaneously so esoteric and yet also relevant to industry.
You can probably find my email through an online directory at Harvard if you put your mind to it. Like most academics, I get more email than I can handle, so please don't be offended if I don't respond. I have accounts on LinkedIn and Facebook, but I rarely check them. I am an active Twitter user, where my username is @neurobongo.