Rajesh P. N. Rao

Director, Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering

Professor, CSE, University of Washington
Adjunct Professor, EE, University of Washington
Adjunct Professor, BioE, University of Washington
Faculty Member, Neurobiology & Behavior Program, University of Washington
Sloan Postdoctoral Fellow, Salk Institute (1997-2000)
Ph.D., University of Rochester, 1998

Featured Content


Computational Neuroscience and Brain-Computer Interfacing
The primary goal of my research is to discover the computational principles underlying the brain's remarkable ability to learn, process and store information, and to apply this knowledge to the task of building adaptive robotic systems and brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). How does the brain learn efficient representations of objects and events occurring in the natural environment? What are the algorithms that allow useful sensorimotor behaviors to be learned? What computational mechanisms allow the brain to adapt to changing circumstances and remain fault-tolerant and robust? How can the knowledge gained through computational studies of the brain be used in biomedical applications such as BCIs for the disabled? My students and I are investigating these questions using a combination of probabilistic techniques, computer simulations, and collaborative neurobiological experiments. Such an interdisciplinary approach has provided functional interpretations of several otherwise puzzling neurobiological properties while at the same time suggesting biologically-inspired solutions to problems in computer vision, robotics and artificial intelligence.


Humanoid Robots that Learn from Humans
We are developing new methods that allow a humanoid robot to learn new actions and skills from a human teacher in much the same way that human infants and adults learn through observation and experimentation. Such an approach opens the door to a potentially powerful way of programming general-purpose humanoid robots--through human demonstration, obviating the need for complex physics-based models and explicit programming of behaviors.



Analysis of the 4000-year-old Indus Script
Despite a large number of attempts, the script of the Indus civilization (circa 2500-1900 BC) remains undeciphered. The absence of a multilingual "Rosetta stone" as well as our lack of knowledge of the underlying language have stymied decipherment efforts. Rather than attempting to ascribe meaning to the inscriptions, we are applying statistical techniques from the fields of machine learning, information theory, and computational linguistics to first gain an understanding of the sequential structure of the script. The goal is to discover the grammatical rules that govern the sequencing of signs in the script, with the hope that such rules will aid future decipherment efforts.



Visit the Laboratory for Neural Systems Web Page for additional information.



Social Robots (2011)

Cover article in Science News on social robots
MIT Technology Review on social robotics

Babies and social robots (press release)  

Article in Neural Networks

Popular Science, Slashdot, Daily Tech

Mumbai Mirror, USA Today, NY Magazine

Engadget, io9, Laptop magazine

New York Times (mentions our robot Morphy)

Brain-Computer Interfacing (2010)


 Discovery News




Neural Augmentation by Brain-Computer Interfacing (2010)

Science Daily

Daily Tech

Tech Radar


Tiscali (Italian)

DNI (Russian)

Money Times

Tech Eye

Indus Script (2009)

Discovery Channel

TIME magazine


BBC (Science in Action)

The Guardian

Smithsonian magazine

Nature India

Scientific American India

The Telegraph (Calcutta)

Physics Today

Science Daily

The Hindu 1, 2, 3

Times of India

Asia Times

New Scientist


Daily News & Analysis

Wired (Note on misquotes/inaccuracies)

Deccan Chronicle


Sydney Morning Herald

Brain-Controlled Humanoid Robot (2007)

CBS News (News video)

ABC News (Video)


Popular Mechanics

The Telegraph

Discovery Channel

National Public Radio

Seattle Times

King 5 TV News

The Motley Fool




Computational Neuroscience and Brain-Computer Interfaces

Robotics, Machine Learning, and Vision

Indus Script

Other Activities:

Rajesh Rao
Computer Science & Engineering
566 Allen Center
University of Washington
Box 352350
Seattle, WA 98195-2350

Phone: 206-685-9141
Fax: 206-543-2969
WWW: http://www.cs.washington.edu/homes/rao
e-mail: rao[at]cs[dot]washington[dot]edu