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Nicholas LaGamma '20

Computation & Cognition


I like to think of programming like LEGOs for big kids. We live in a magical time where you can create machines that can do anything imaginable - whether it's something practically useful, scientifically investigative, purely fun, or often some combination. My primary interest is in building machines that can "think" for themselves, solve hard problems, and even develop complex adaptive behaviors. I've explored this passion in many ways, including researching Augmented Reality (AR) devices as a Monroe Scholar and using machine learning as a member of geoLab to program a computer that predicts participant data via webcam. I'm eager to contribute to the pivotal economic transformations that are changing the nature of labor today and promote the integration of humans and machines in an empowering and ethical way.

Many of the breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence (AI) research have been inspired from Neuroscience. Discovering and modeling the algorithms that are implemented in the brain and underlie our perceptions, thoughts, and behaviors is a big interest of mine. As a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins, I worked on a small team reading, implementing, and improving cutting edge deep learning systems to test natural language processing (NLP) tasks. How our brains produce complex behavior patterns and conscious experience is still one of the greatest mysteries important to science and philosophy today.New discoveries are always being made, so I hope to keep myself up to date with the latest knowledge so that I may contribute to the critical dissemination of such important findings.