Psychology 290

Computational Neuroscience

Spring quarter, 2002

In this seminar, students will learn about computational approaches to problems in neuroscience.  This year the course will center around a new textbook, Theoretical Neuroscience, which covers topics ranging from single neuron computation to neural network models of learning and cognition. Students will choose a small project, ideally one related to their own research, as a base for exploring theories of information processing.  Students will give a 30 min. presentation on their work at the end of the quarter.  There will also be a number of guest lectures throughout the quarter.

Instructor:         Bruno A. Olshausen, x7-8749,

Prerequisites:   Graduate standing in psychology or neuroscience, or consent of instructor.

Text:                 Theoretical Neuroscience, by Peter Dayan and Larry F. Abbott, MIT Press

Time:                   Mondays/Thursdays, 6-9.  See schedule below.

Units:                   3

Grading:              Based on class participation and project.

CRN:                    68115



We will go through the entire book, averaging about one chapter per week (there are a total of 10 chapters).  Approximate schedule is as follows:

Date Chapter/Topic
Monday, 4/15

1. Neural encoding I: Firing rates and spike statistics.

Thursday, 4/18

2. Neural encoding II:  Reverse correlation and visual receptive fields.

Thursday, 4/25

3. Neural decoding.

Monday, 4/29

4. Information theory.

Monday, 5/6

5. Model neurons I:  Neuroelectronics.

Thursday, 5/16

7. Network models.

Monday, 5/20

8. Plasticity and learning.

Thursday, 5/30

9. Classical conditioning and reinforcement learning.

Monday, 6/3

10. Representational learning.

Thursday, 6/6 Project presentations
Monday, 6/10 Project presentations (if additional time needed)

Guest lectures

Chris Eliasmith:        "A framework for understanding neurobiological systems."
April 15 at 4:00

Chris Tyler:                "The History of Perspective from Greece to O'Keefe" and "Global Symmetry Processing in the Brain"
April 24 at 12:00 and 4:00, respectively.

Rufin van Rullen:        "Object recognition in natural scenes"
May 2 at 12:00

Mike Lewicki:             "Efficient coding of natural sounds"
May 20 at 4:00

Ying Wu:                     "Sparse coding of images"
Friday, May 24 (Math dept, time to be announced)

David Arathorn:          "Map-seeking circuits in visual cognition"
Wednesday, May 29 (time to be announced)

Laurenz Wiskott:        "Learning invariances"
Wednesday, June 12 (time to be announced)