Experienced Associate Professor in cognitive AI joins DIAS

Associate Professor Marco Ragni has a keen interest in the specifics of how the human mind process information and how this differs from formal and computational approaches. With the goal to push the development of true predictive cognitive models for the individual reasoner by methods from AI and Cognitive Science forward, he enters DIAS this summer.

Marco Ragni has always been interested in understanding the human mind, and how computational and cognitive systems can model human thinking. He believes that only models that are capable of predicting an individual human reasoner’s inference for given information, before the human derives it, are true cognitive models.

So far, Marco Ragni has developed several methods for analyzing individual human thinking. Also, he has developed computational models that can assess why some problems are more difficult than others and how to set up benchmark frameworks for true predictive systems. How to build cognitive, computational models that are dealing with the individual will be one of his contributions to the interdisciplinary environment at DIAS.

Up until now, he has been trained and worked both as a computer scientist and psychologist: he developed computational cognitive models, complexity theories, and he runs online psychological experiments and neuroscientific studies.

His core interest lies in solving the predictive human reasoning task, e.g., is it possible to develop systems that predict about what kind of conclusion someone draws before this happens? Such models can form the next milestone of tutoring systems that can support humans to develop skills and mindsets to become better thinkers and to increase our understanding how any computational system works.

Interdisciplinary DIAS drew his attention

In his new appointment at DIAS and SDU Campus Kolding, Marco Ragni will analyze, via computational think-ing, how our society is integrated more in computer science. The question here is, among others, wherein the difference lies between how people think, and how they need to think to deal with computational systems in our society. With this point of departure, Marco Ragni finds it optimal to enter more interdisciplinary collaborations.

“I have always been interested in how the human mind works, and for this you need plenty of methods. Methods from neuroscience, from psychology, from cognitive AI and machine learning. I firmly believe that the human mind is the most complex thing in this world,” Marco Ragni tells. “But often scientists stick to their department, focusing with others like them. There is so much to learn from other people and disciplines. What I have seen at SDU and DIAS is, that people come from very different disciplines and interact to deepen their understanding and to advance science. This has drawn my attention to come.”

Marco Ragni

Marco Ragni is trained as a mathematician and has two Ph.Ds. one in Computer Science (2008) and one in Cognitive Science (2013) from the University of Freiburg. His career includes several positions as member of committees, guest editor, reviewer, organization of workshops and talks. Furthermore, he has contributed as Board Member at Special Research Center “Spatial Cognition” and as Chief Executive of the Cognition-Section within the Artificial Intelligence Section of the German Society of Informatics (GI).

Marco Ragni was Head of the Cognitive Computation Lab at University Freiburg and has been Associate Professor at University Freiburg since 2017. He was awarded in 2015 with the prestigious Heisenberg-Fellowship from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) for researching “Formalization, Modeling and Implementation of a neurocognitive theory of deductive reasoning”.

Read more about Marco Ragni or contact him via sdu.dk.

Read more about Danish Institute for Advanced Study.