Rajesh Rao is fascinated by "the mother of all crossword puzzles": How to decipher the 4000 year old Indus script. At TED 2011 he tells how he is enlisting modern computational techniques to read the Indus language, the key piece to understanding this ancient civilization.
Rajesh Rao seeks to understand the human brain through computational modeling, on two fronts: developing computer models of our minds, and using tech to decipher the 4,000-year-old script of the Indus valley civilization.
Rajesh Rao is looking for the computational principles underlying the brain's remarkable ability to learn, process and store information -- hoping to apply this knowledge to the task of building adaptive robotic systems and artificially intelligent agents.
Some of the questions that motivate his research include: How does the brain learn efficient representations of novel objects and events occurring in the natural environment? What are the algorithms that allow useful sensorimotor routines and behaviors to be learned? What computational mechanisms allow the brain to adapt to changing circumstances and remain fault-tolerant and robust?
By investigating these questions within a computational and probabilistic framework, it is often possible to derive algorithms that not only provide functional interpretations of neurobiological properties but also suggest solutions to difficult problems in computer vision, speech, robotics and artificial intelligence.