ESC People

Nancy Salay, Founder and Director


Nancy Salay is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and the School of Computing at Queen’s University.  Her central area of specialization is embodied cognitive science with a focus on non-reductive approaches to understanding psychological-level cognitive concepts such as thoughts and emotions.  Currently she is exploring how applying the ideas of complex systems, in particular the concept of self-organisation, to cognition will help us explain how mental concepts and categories emerge out of our encoded experiences.

Selim Akl


Selim G. Akl currently serves as Director of the School of Computing at Queen’s University. His recent research in the field of unconventional computation has four motivations: (i) to better understand the processes of nature by modeling them as algorithms (e.g., plant respiration as a cellular automaton algorithm, photosynthesis as a quantum process, and so on); (ii) to seek inspiration from nature when natural algorithms are more effective and more efficient than conventional ones (e.g., genetic algorithms, neural networks, swarm intelligence, and so on); (iii) to use nature itself to perform the computations, when its substrates and processes are the most appropriate (e.g., bio-molecular computing, chemical computing, quantum computing, and so on); and (iv) to better understand what it means “to compute” (e.g., the processes of acquiring stimulus from, and producing information to, the external physical environment; the phenomena of nature, such as the spin of an electron, a chemical reaction, DNA replication, and so on–are these computations?).

Tom Hollenstein


Tom Hollenstein is currently an Associate Professor in the Developmental Psychology program at Queen’s University. His research focuses on how emotional processes develop, especially in adolescence. He uses a dynamic systems framework to better understand the relations between complex interactions in real time and the nature of how socioemotional development progresses. He is the world’s leading expert on state space grid analysis and the purveyor of free software to conduct these analyses, GridWare.

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