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DECEMBER 24, 2012 • ISSUE 193

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Tristan Webb conducts research in the Computational Biology and Bioimaging Group (COMBI). Topics researched include perception in the visual cortex, neuropsychiatric disease, and biomedical computing

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Tristan with his family

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Computational neuroscience involves the theoretical modeling of neurons and neural circuits

MUM Alumnus Uses Computer Simulations to Research Decision-Making

MUM alumnus Tristan Webb recently finished his PhD in complexity science at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom. His research focused on the computational neuroscience of decision-making, looking to advance the understanding of issues such as our speed-accuracy trade-off, noise in the brain, and neural communication.

Tristan has been programming computers since the age of ten. He came to MUM in 2003 and completed a BS in mathematics, receiving the Outstanding Student Award in mathematics. Then he went onto earn an MA in computer science.

“Tristan’s careful attention to his practice of Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program over the years has enabled him to develop the expanded vision and refinement of intellect necessary to succeed in his studies and to integrate his studies with his inner Self and with his own life plan,” said Anne Dow, chair of the Mathematics Department.

“While at MUM, I saw a correlation between the regular practice of Transcendental Meditation and my general happiness,” said Tristan. “TM has really helped me with my focus and mathematical reasoning ability while I was learning complexity science.”

After graduating from MUM, Tristan obtained an MS in complexity science from the University of Warwick. While studying in England, he taught parallel programming at MUM’s Computer Professionals Program via distance education. Then he decided to pursue a PhD at the University of Warwick, where he is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher.

“I've spent the last few years researching computational neuroscience, that is, developing computer simulations of realistic firing patterns of neurons and applying that knowledge to our understanding of cognitive function,” Tristan said. “My hope is that I can take part in some of the scientific breakthroughs that will certainly happen in the coming years.”

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