Cognitive Science Colloquium Lecture: 'Information-Bearing Degrees of Freedom in Neural Circuitry: A Mathematical Perspective'
This lecture is part of the Cognitive Science Colloquium Series, presented by the UA Cognitive Science Program.
Speaker: Kevin L. Lin, Associate Professor and Associate Department Head for STEM Instruction, Department of Mathematics, University of Arizona
Title: "Information-Bearing Degrees of Freedom in Neural Circuitry: A Mathematical Perspective"
Abstract: How does neuronal activity represent information and enable nontrivial computations? Given its observed complexity and variability, what aspects of neuronal dynamics can be used to reliably encode and process information? In this talk, I will report on an effort to formulate this question mathematically, focusing specifically on the use of spike timing for encoding information, and discuss what one can learn from such an exercise. Time permitting, I will also survey recent progress in the literature on correlated spiking events in balanced neural circuitry, and what implications this may have for the question at hand. A broader purpose of this talk is to convince the audience that mathematical modeling and thinking (beyond statistics) can be useful for understanding neuronal dynamics, and to that end I will try to make this talk as accessible as possible to those without a background in computational neuroscience or mathematical modeling.