Professor, (Founding Director, Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience) (Canada Research Chair in Theoretical Neuroscience)

Contact Information

Chris EliasmithOffice:  Engineering 7 - 6324

Phone: 519-888-4567  x42638
Webpage: Chris Eliasmith's personal website

Jointly appointed to Systems Design Engineering

Cross appointed to Computer Science


PhD, Washington University in St. Louis (Philosophy, Neuroscience, Psychology)
MA, Waterloo (Philosophy)
BASc, Waterloo (Systems Design Engineering) P. Eng

Areas of Interest

Philosophy of Mind, Theoretical Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Neuromorphics

Current Research

I am currently director of the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience and head of the Computational Neuroscience Research Group (CNRG) in that Centre. My recent work focuses on integrating neural and psychological explanations of behaviour, and building large-scale brain models. My additional interests include neuromorphic engineering, models and theories in science, theories of computation, dynamical systems, and statistical modeling.

Academic Biography

My formal academic background is interdisciplinary, spanning engineering, philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. My research reflects this diversity but is tied together by its focus on the workings of the mind.

My early philosophical work critiqued the dynamical hypothesis in cognitive science, and discussed related issues of computation and the architecture of the mind. My PhD thesis suggests a new theory of meaning which draws heavily on neural considerations. 

My philosophical work has been paralleled by work in theoretical neuroscience. With Charles Anderson, I have developed a general method for building large-scale, biologically detailed models of neural systems. I have applied this method in a variety of contexts, including rat navigation, working memory, lamprey swimming, hemineglect, and language-based reasoning.

My most recent book is called "How to build a brain: A neural architecture for biological cognition" (Oxford University Press), which brings together this past work.


For a complete list of my publications, please see my personal website.

University of Waterloo

Profiles by type

How to Build a Brain

Chris Eliasmith’s team at the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience has built Spaun, the world’s largest simulation of a functioning brain. The related book is now available and for the full article Waterloo Stories.


This is a collection of coverage of work with Nengo (Neural Engineering Objects) that has appeared in the popular press recently.