There has a recent surge of computational architectures inspired by how the brain works, and unlike previously, they actually perform well on certain tasks. At the same time advanced computational analysis is increasingly used to analyse and understand neural data. This course covers both these developments. After describing rigorous ways to describe neural activity mathematically, and introducing methods how high-dimensional neural activity patterns can be represented and modelled, we present a number of the architectures recently used to do tasks like image understanding, memory and cognition, as well as some brain inspired hardware implementations.

The background needed to successfully take this course is a good grounding in mathematics, particularly with regard to probability and statistics, vectors and matrices. The mathematical level required is similar to that which would be obtained by students who did not have significant difficulties with the courses Mathematics for Informatics 1-4 taken in the first two years of the Informatics undergraduate syllabus. The Neural Computation (NC) course is a helpful but not necessary prerequisite, as biological realism is not such an important objective as in the NC course. Machine learning courses (LfD, PMR, IAML) will be also useful preparations.

Instructors:
Mark van Rossum and Matthias Hennig.

Course Tutor: TBA

First lecture: Monday Jan 11th.

- Review of probabilistic modelling and information theory.
- Overview of relevant neurobiology
- Neural encoding
- Neural decoding
- Information theory
- Statistical models of neuronal networks
- Neuro-inspired architectures
- Neural computation with attractors
- Discussion of class papers

There will be two assessed assignments worth in total 25%. There will be an exam worth 75%.

First assignment . Deadline March 16th, 2016.

Data file for first assignment
Second assignment,
Deadline April 5th, 2016

Theoretical Neuroscience by P Dayan and L F Abbott (MIT Press 2001) is recommended reading, see also the list of errata.

Natural Image Statistics by Aapo Hyvarinen, Jarmo Hurri, and Patrik O. Hoyer. Full version online.

Neuronal Dynamics by Wulfram Gerstner, Werner M. Kistler, Richard Naud and Liam Paninski Full version online.

Neural encoding: lecture slides (2x2) , lecture slides (single page)

*This page is maintained by
Mark van Rossum *.

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