IEEE Winnipeg Section


Computer and Computational Intelligence Seminar



Cognitive Dynamic Systems: Radar, Control and Radio


Tuesday, August 28, 2012 from 2:30-3:30 PM


Rm E3-270, EITC (Engineering & Information Technology Complex)
Fort Garry Campus
University of Manitoba


Simon Haykin, Ph.D., D.Sc., FRSC, FIEEE
Distinguished Professor
Cognitive Systems Laboratory
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario


The human brain is the most powerful dynamic systems ever. This said, it is logical that I begin my lecture with some historical notes on neuroscience, begining with pioneering contributions made by Vernon Mountcastle, David Marr, and Joaquin Fuster. In a sense, the contributions made by these pioneers and many others paved the way for what is now being referred to as the new paradigm of cognitive neuroscience.

Early on in my work on cognitive radar, I decided to build on the five principles of cognition as described by Fuster. The principles are perception, memory, attention, intelligence, and language. From an engineering perspective, what I found nice about what I have termed, Fuster’s paradigm, is the fact that building a cognitive radar system follows an orderly fashion.

Then, I will describe the information processing power of cognition applied to radar. In particular, I will describe the achievements, both theoretically and experimentally (based on simulations). Most importantly, the switching of transmit waveform from one perception-action cycle to the next follows ever so smoothly, very much like how it is known to occur in the human brain.

Next, I will turn to cognitive control. Here, I will describe the new notion of a two-state model, one being the target-state and the other being the entropic-state, the latter accounting for uncertainties and disturbances.

For my third topic, I will describe the roles of game theory, information theory, optimization and control. I will describe how by exploiting the well known postulate of Hebbian Learning, we can actually build self-organized cognitive ad-hoc radio networks.
Much of what I will describe has been the results of work done with my gifted and dedicated research group of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.

To conclude the lecture, I will briefly describe recent work done on “Cognitive Radar Information Networks” for security along the Great Lakes in North America. This work was done in collaboration with the Accipiter Radar Technologies, Inc., Ontario.

Speaker Bio:

Dr. Simon Haykin received his B.Sc. (First-class Honours), Ph.D., and D.Sc., all in Electrical Engineering from the University of Birmingham, England. He is Distinguished University Professor at McMaster University, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is the recipient of the Henry Booker Gold Medal from URSI, 2002, the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Technical Sciences from ETH Zentrum, Zurich, Switzerland, 1999, and many other medals and prizes.

For much of the past ten years he has focused his research effort to how to learn from the human brain, and apply it to a new generation of Cognitive Dynamic Systems, exemplified by the following:

1. Cognitive radio, on which the first journal paper, entitled “Cognitive Radio: Brain empowered wireless communications,” was published in the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications (JSAC), February 2005.

2. Cognitive radar, on which the first journal paper, entitled “Cognitive Radar: A way of the future”, was published in the IEEE Journal on Signal Processing, January 2006. The forthcoming paper, entitled “Cognitive Radar: Step toward bridging gap between neuroscience and engineering,” will be published in the Proceedings of the IEEE, November 2012.

3. In the last few months of 2011, the notion of the “two-state model” was discovered for the first time, with one state representing a target state; and the other state, named the “entropic state,” representing environmental uncertainties and disturbances. This new notion opened the way to formulate the basics of Cognitive Control, in the implementation of which use was made of reinforcement learning for the first time ever. A white paper on Cognitive Control was submitted to the the Proceedings of the IEEE few months ago.

4. In November 2006, a point-of-view article in the Proceedings fo the IEEE was published, describing the new integrative field of “Cognitive Dynamic Systems.” A follow-up to the that first article will be published in the Proc. IEEE, July 2012.

5. Perhaps the biggest look to the future developed in the course of a four-month collaborative work with Dr. Tim Nohara, President of Accipiter Radar Technologies, Fonthill, Ontario. In the White Paper, entitled “Cognitive radar information networks,” ideas were described for the first time ever, addressing the issue of security across the Great Lakes in North America by exploiting the information-processing power of cognition .

6. Last but by no means least, the first book, entitled “Cognitive Dynamic Systems,” was published by Cambridge University Press, in March 2006.

In light of what has been described here, working in collaboration with a gifted and dedicated research group of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, it can be justifiably said that at the Cognitive Systems Laboratory, McMaster University, we have taken few steps aimed at harnessing the information-processing power of the human brain for building a new generation ofengineering systems. This joint effort has been truly exciting.


Free, All are welcome.


  • IEEE Computer & Computational Intelligence Chapter
  • IEEE Communications Chapter
  • IEEE Robotics and Control Chapter
  • IEEE Education, Management, and Communication Chapter (EduManCom)
  • Engineering Design Chair (Canada Research Chair)
  • Institute of Industrial Mathematical Sciences (IIMS)
  • Telecommunications Research Laboratories (TRLabs)
  • InfoMagnetics Technologies (IMT)
  • Manitoba Hydro
  • Magellan Bristol Aerospace
  • Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Studies
  • UofM IEEE McNaughton Student Centre
  • UofM Space Applications & Technology Society (UMSATS, T-Sat)
  • UofM Amateur Radio Society (UMARS)


For questions or more information contact Witold Kinsner at 474-6490.