Advanced Speaker Series on Emerging Technologies

Suspicious Coincidences in the Brain
Terrence J. Sejnowski, PhD
Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Hosted by: Toby Berger
Tuesday, October 18th, 2011
4:00 – 5:00 pm
MEC 205
Reception at 3:30 pm (before talk)

Abstract:  Brains need to make quick sense of massive amounts of ambiguous information with minimal energy
costs and have evolved an intriguing mixture of analog and digital mechanisms to allow this efficiency.  Analog
electrical and biochemical signals inside neurons are used for integrating synaptic inputs from other neurons.  The
digital part is the all-or-none action potential, or spike, that lasts for a millisecond or less and is used to send
messages over a long distance.  Spike coincidences occur when two or more neurons fire together at nearly the
same time.  In this lecture I will show how rare spike coincidences can be used efficiently to represent important
visual events and how this architecture can be implemented with analog VLSI technology to simplify the early
stages of visual processing.

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