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Brains, Minds & Models


Brains, Minds & Models

For academic year 2012-13, we will have a series of symposia designed to highlight current excitement about theoretical issues in the neural and cognitive sciences.  Theorists interested in the brain and mind come from many different cultures - physics, applied mathematics and computer science, engineering, linguistics, philosophy, ... .  We hope that these symposia will provide an opportunity to engage with these diverse approaches, getting a sense both for the broad research programs of different communities and for the technical details on which theories rise and fall.

Symposia will begin at 9:15 AM with bagels and coffee, and wrap up by 6:00 PM.  Lunch will be served.  All lectures will be in the Science Center, Room 4102 at the Graduate Center. Events are open to the scientific community, but we ask that you email to register, so that we can provide the right amount of food and coffee (!).

Some funds are available to facilitate the participation of students and postdoctoral fellows from around the New York metropolitan area.  Please email if you would like to take advantage of this opportunity.

Recent events

Friday, 15 February 2013
Perception, motor control, and learning:  Theory and experiment in bird song
Neuromechanics of birdsong production:  A new sensorimotor model
     Daniel Margoliash, The University of Chicago
     Gabriel Mindlin, Universidad de Buenos Aires
Chained melody:  Sequence generation in the songbird forebrain and the emergence of higher-order syntactical structure
     Dezhe Jin, Pennsylvania State University
     Michael Long, New York University
How birds learn their song
     Lucca Parra, City College of New York and The Graduate Center
     Ofer Tchernikovski, Hunter College and The Graduate Center

Tuesday, 3 April 2012
Adaptation, inference, and natural sensory inputs
Natural image statistics, 85% explained
     Matthias Bethge, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics
Computation and gain cotnrol in single neurons and networks
     Adrienne Fairhall, University of Washington
Encoding of temporal statistics in auditory cortex
     Maria Neimark Geffen, University of Pennsylvania
Probabilistic inference in visual cognition
     Wei Ji Ma, Bayloe College of Medicine

Tuesday, 13 March 2012
From E. coli to (almost) elephants
Chemical sensing in bacteria and flies
    Thierry Emonet, Yale University
Seeing through a fly's eyes
    Rob de Ruyter van Steveninck, Indiana University
Predictive behavior in molecular networks
    Saeed Tavazoie, Columbia University
Neural network computation in molecular systems
    Erik Winfree, California Institute of Technology

Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Cortical dynamics, codes and decisions
A cognitive-type cortical circuit: Decision making and working memory
    Xiao-Jing Wang, Yale University
The neural dynamics of decision making: Multiple time scales and multiple brain areas
    Philip Holmes, Princeton University
The stabilized supralinear network: A simple circuit motif underlying contextual and top-down modulation of cortical responses
    Ken Miller, Columbia University
Exponentially strong population codes for analog variables
    Ila Fiete, University of Texas at Austin

Tuesday, 29 November 2011
Coding, networks and decisions
Probabilistic inference in networks of spiking neurons
    Sophie Deneve, Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris
Encoding and decoding of decision-related information from spike trains in parietal cortex
    Jonathan Pillow, University of Texas
Sparse high-order interaction networks and learnable population codes
    Elad Schneidman, Weizmann Institute of Science
Optimal population coding by noisy spiking neurons
    Gasper Tkacik, Institute of Science and Technology Austria

Tuesday, 18 October 2011
Information, inference, and perception
Concept neurons in the human brain:  From grandmother to Jennifer Aniston
    Christof Koch, California Institute of Technology and Allen Institute for Brain Science
Information theoretic methods for characterizing multidimensional neural computations
    Tatyana Sharpee, Salk Institute for Biological Studies and University of California at San Diego
High fidelity coding with correlated neurons:  The orchestral brain
    Rava da Silveira, Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris
Perception as optimal inference: Testing the Bayesian hypothesis
    Alan Stocker, University of Pennsylvania

Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Perception, memory and movement
Short-term memory through compressed sensing
    Surya Ganguli, University of California at San Francisco
A short-term memory circuit, from single neurons to behavior
    Mark Goldman, University of California at Davis
Universal features of bistable percepts
    Nava Rubin, New York University
Optimal control of movement
    Emo Todorov, University of Washington