Tuesday, July 9, 2013

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

Dear Ramana,

Perhaps you might be interested in this little text I wrote about reductionism on my blog:


Le 06/07/2013 00:16, ramana dodla a écrit :

I don't know the answers to Jim's questions, but they touch upon issues that are
of importance to (neuro-) scientists. But as a matter of scientific quest, and
from a physics point of view, the idea of a cortical column is appealing. I could think of them
as a set of eigen-shapes that could interact with one another, and define the cortical
communication. For this approach, in fact any other shape would be equally good/bad.

This fits into the idea of methodological reductionism. Physics is a nice example.
The human body itself is another best example. Who knows what is best for the brain,
but I don't know why reductionism shouldn't work in the brain. Isn't reductionism the idea
behind electrophysiology?


On Thu, Jul 4, 2013 at 9:24 AM, james bower <bower@uthscsa.edu> 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 <julian.shillcock@epfl.ch> 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: http://emploi.epfl.ch/page-94325-en.html

Julian Shillcock
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Dr. James M. Bower Ph.D.

Professor of Computational Neurobiology

Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies.

15355 Lambda Drive

University of Texas Health Science Center 

San Antonio, Texas  78245


Phone:  210 382 0553

Email: bower@uthscsa.edu

Web: http://www.bower-lab.org

twitter: superid101

linkedin: Jim Bower



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