Bernoulli Lecture – Towards a mathematical model of the brain

28 January 2021

Part of the Semester : Dynamics, Transfer Operators, and Spectra

17:00 – 18:00
Room : GA 3 21


Lai-Sang Young, NYU

Video : (Part 1) (Part 2)


Striving to make contact with mathematics and to be consistent with neuroanatomy at the same time, I propose an idealized picture of the cerebral cortex consisting of a hierarchical network of brain regions each further subdivided into interconnecting layers not unlike those in artificial neural networks. Each layer is idealized as a 2D sheet of neurons, spatially homogeneous with mostly localized interactions, a setup reminiscent of that in statistical mechanics. Zooming into local circuits, one gets into the domain of dynamical systems. The dynamics are characterized by two “opposing” groups of agents (Excitatory and Inhibitory neurons) competing for dominance, producing local dynamic equilibria in response to spatially inhomogeneous external stimuli. I will illustrate some of these ideas using a biologically realistic model of the monkey primary visual cortex.