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

Brain Day 2023 Videos On-line

The videos from Brain Day 2023 are now available on line at our youtube channel. Hope you enjoy.

CTN Masters Student Graduate Sugandha Sharma Appears on Generally Intelligent Podcast

Sugandha Sharma, masters student graduate of the University of Waterloo's CTN, discusses her research and time in the laboratory of CTN Founding Director Chris Eliasmith as well as her current PhD research at MIT on the Generally Intelligent Podcast. Give it a listen.

Sue Ann Campbell Presents at International Conference on Mathematical Neurosci 2022

Sue Ann Campbell (Applied Math/CTN core member) recently presented "Modulation of Synchronization by a Slowly Varying Current"  in July 2022 at the International Conference on Mathematical Neuroscience; Watch it on YouTubesue ann campbell presentation image of spikes

CTN Research Day 2023 Oct 17 16:30 - 19:00 QNC 0101

The Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience will be hosting its second Research Day. This will be a chance to start the new academic year by getting re-acquainted with each other and the diversity of research conducted by CTN core and affiliate faculty. The format will be to have a number of CTN faculty share short overviews of their lab's and projects (16:30-17:30) and then, following a short coffee break (17:30-18:00), hear from a dozen current graduate students and post-docs giving short three minute talks on an aspect of their current research (18:00-19:00).

Bots and Beasts. New book by CTN Founding Member Paul Thagard

Paul Thagard, philosopher, cognitive scientist, Killam prize winner, and founding CTN member has a new book out: Bots and Beasts. bots and beasts book cover