Introduction to Computational Neuroscience
Many scientists regard the human brain as the most complex object in the known universe. It is not surprising therefore that studying the brain and its function is a challenging task. Any successful attempt at it requires neuroscientists to tackle it from several perspectives, each offering complementary insights. If we want to understand the brain and its structures, we need to identify their function: what do these structures do and why? A second requirement for understanding neural structures is identification of potential mechanisms describing how a certain function can be brought about: what kind of information processing is carried out? Finally, we need to identify how such information processing can be implemented in a neural structure as opposed to, for example, a personal computer: what are the physical and biological constraints under which the brain implements function?
Computational neuroscience integrates across these three points as it studies the information processing carried out by different structures of the nervous system in terms of biologically constrained models of brain function.
In this course students will receive an overview of the basic principles of deep learning, spiking neuron models, and dynamical systems theory; learn how these concepts are applied for studying brain function (exemplified for decision making as well as for the structure-function relationship in the cortex); and discuss computational neuroscience from a philosophy of science perspective.
Doelstellingen van dit vak
Students are able:
- to design and train neural networks able to perform logical inferences;
- to explain and simulate a range of typical models used in computational neuroscience, such as the Hopfield model of memory formation and the Hodgkin-Huxley spiking neuron model;
- to interpret model simulations in light of empirical data;
- to engage in discussions about the relevance of computational neuroscience for the understanding of the human brain.
Having followed an introductory course on the brain and/or brain research.