Upon the invitation of State Key Laboratory of Robotics, Professor Sen Cheng from the Ruhr University Bochum in Germany visited Shenyang Institute of Automation (SIA), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
During his visit, Cheng made a report titled Memory and Space in the Hippocampus. The hippocampus in the mammalian brain is known for two seemingly disparate things: episodic memory in humans and spatial representation in rodents and other species. However, it is not understood how the hippocampus implements these two functions and what they have in common. Cheng presented a new theory in which the hippocampus stores neural sequences that represent episodic memories. The modeling results show that semantic representations are important for episodic memory. Preliminary data indicated that spatial representations can arise as semantic features from visual inputs. Thus he concluded that the function of the hippocampus is episodic memory and that spatial representations arise as an epiphenomenon.
Sen Cheng did his graduate work in theoretical nuclear physics at the NSCL (Michigan State University). He received a Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical Neurobiology at the University of California San Francisco. Since January 2010, he has been leading his own group at the Ruhr University Bochum to study learning and memory in the brain with computational methods.