Nature is the ultimate engineer. During 3.5-billion-years, the earth has borne witness to systems of such astounding adaptability, specialization, complexity and organization that to ignore them would put an engineer in dereliction of duty. In this course, students will examine the various ways in which we have attempted to leverage nature’s capabilities in system design and implementation. After an introduction to MATLAB and specific mathematical fundamentals, students will explore computational models of the brain – neural networks – and discuss genetic algorithms as evolutionary optimization techniques. Each day will feature a hands-on implementation of the techniques discussed, culminating into the fifth day where participants will merge the computational techniques to evolve a virtual robot brain and upload it into physical hardware.