Instructors: Rajesh P. N. Rao & Adrienne Fairhall
- Physicists tell us that the universe is the physical domain in which we live, however
neuroscientists posit that the 3-pound mass of tissue that is out brain is the true
universe, as it is what allows us to think, feel, act and be human
- Understanding how the brain does all of these things is one of the most profound
mysteries of the 20 century
Understanding the Brain using Computational Models
- Descriptive Models of the Brain
o How do neurons respond to external stimuli and how do we describe this
quantitatively with a neural encoding model?
o How can we extract information from neurons (decoding: the counterpart to
Extremely important in brain-computer interfacing and prostheses
- Mechanistic Models of Brain Cells and Networks
o How can we simulate the behavior of a single neuron on a computer?
o How do we simulate a network of neurons?
Human Brain Project in Europe: this is a large scale neuronal simulation
- Interpretive (or Normative) Models of the Brain
o Why do brain circuits operate the way they do?
o What are the computational principles underlying their operation?
Course Information and Logistics
- Course length: 8 weeks
- Each week
o 1 Video lecture (about one hour long split into ~10 min chunks)
o 1 Homework Quiz
- Lectures and homeworks will be released on Fridays
- Homeworks will be due 2 Monday from release date
o 2 weekends to work on a homework