Computational Neuroscience: Neuronal Dynamics of Cognition
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assignment Level : Advanced
chat_bubble_outline Language : English
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About the content

What happens in your brain when you make a decision? And what happens if you recall a memory from your last vacation? Why is our perception of simple objects sometimes strangely distorted? How can millions of neurons in the brain work together without a central control unit?

This course explains the mathematical and computational models that are used in the field of theoretical neuroscience to answer the above questions. The core of the answer to cognition may lie in the collective dynamics of thousands of interacting neurons - and these dynamics are mathematically analyzed in this course using methods such as mean-field theory and non-linear differential equations.By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Analyze connected networks in the mean-field limit
  • Formalize biological facts into mathematical models
  • Understand a simple mathematical model of memory formation in the brain
  • Understand a simple mathematical model of decision processes
  • Understand cortical field models of perception

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Prerequisite

Calculus and Differential equations at the level of a bachelor in physics, math, or electrical engineering.

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Syllabus

Textbook:

Neuronal Dynamics - from single neurons to networks and models of cognition (W. Gerstner, W.M. Kistler, R. Naud and L. Paninski), Cambridge Univ. Press. 2014

online version: http://neuronaldynamics.epfl.ch/

The course will be based on Chapters 12 and 16-19.

Overview of contents over 6 weeks:

A) Associative Memory and Hopfield Model

B) Attractor networks and spiking neurons

C) Neuronal populations and mean-field theory

D) Perception and cortical field models

E) Decision making and competitive dynamics

F) Synaptic Plasticity and learning


Total duration and workload:

6 weeks of video lectures. Each weak comprises a series of 5-8 videos. Viewing time about 60-90 minutes per week. Self-learning time 90 minutes per week. Online exercises, quizzes, and a final exam.
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Instructors

Wulfram Gerstner
Professor, Computer Science
EPFL

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Content designer

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

The École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, English: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) is a research university in Lausanne, Switzerland, that specialises in physical sciences and engineering.

One of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, the school was founded by the Swiss Federal Government with the stated mission to:

Educate engineers and scientists to the highest international standing
Be a national center of excellence in science and technology
Provide a hub for interaction between the scientific community and the industry
EPFL is considered one of the most prestigious universities in the world for engineering and sciences, ranking 17th overall and 10th in engineering in the 2015 QS World University Rankings; 34th overall and 12th in engineering in the 2015 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

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