Monday, July 8, 2013

Re: [Comp-neuro] RE: Post-Doctoral position at Blue Brain Project, EPFL, in Mesoscale Cortical Synthesis

I enjoy reading about the column debate from a theoretical perspective - this article for example:, any thoughts?. I have no experimental experience (in common with many on this list I guess) so it would be good to hear input from experimental neuroscientists.

Nice parody Dorian :)


On 6 July 2013 15:56, Dorian Aur <> wrote:
Glad to see that topics like  *noise in the nervous system* are targeted, they are part of a long list of myths In addition, refuting confusing cortical columns as  *computational building blocks* may be more difficult since neuroscientists seem to like this concept.

"One can spend an entire lifetime correcting a flawed paper published in reputable journal and still loose the battle if people like the basic idea" (V. Hamburger)

Dorian Aur

On Thu, Jul 4, 2013 at 7:24 AM, james bower <> wrote:
Why not, it's the summer, CNS meeting is coming up, and it has been a long time since our previous discussion of 'noise in the nervous system'.

So, why not:

Serious  question:  do cortical columns actually exist? Is this the right way to think about cortical processing?

More formally, is the idea of a cortical column, originally proposed by Mountcastle in the 1950s as a "computational" (in current lexicon)  building block for cerebral cortex:

1) supported by the data

2) the right way to think about cortical structure?  computational or otherwise.

In case anyone is wondering, I think not - and have found it mildly amusing that this project is devoted to reconstructing something that probably doesn't exist.


Jim Bower

On Jul 4, 2013, at 7:43 AM, Shillcock Julian Charles <> wrote:

The Blue Brain Project has modelling infrastructure for constructing in silico neocortical columns containing about 30,000 neurons, distributing the cells through the column and forming synapses. Several such columns have already been assembled into a planar hexagonal mosaic containing up to 1,000,000 neurons. However, axons grow long distances along tracts within the brain's white matter, and the next stage of development is to populate three-dimensional mesh models of brain regions with appropriately-shaped mesocircuits, adjusting their dimensions and shape to match rodent brain anatomy, and connecting the circuits according to known large-scale connectomics data,  yielding a complete rat brain model containing on the order of tens of millions of neurons.

Please see this page for more deals:

Julian Shillcock
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