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TU Berlin

Inhalt des Dokuments

Neural Information Processing Group

We are concerned with the principles underlying information processing in biological systems. On the one hand we want to understand how the brain computes, on the other hand we want to utilize the strategies employed by biological systems for machine learning applications. Our research interests cover three thematic areas.

Models of Neuronal Systems:


In collaboration with neurobiologists and clinicians we study how the visual system processes visual information. Research topics include: cortical dynamics, the representation of visual information, adaptation and plasticity, and the role of feedback. More recently we became interested in how perception is linked to cognitive function, and we began to study computational models of decision making in uncertain environments, and how those processes interact with perception and memory.

Machine Learning and Neural Networks:


Here we investigate how machines can learn from examples in order to predict and (more recently) act. Research topics include the learning of proper representations, active and semisupervised learning schemes, and prototype-based methods. Motivated by the model-based analysis of decision making in humans we also became interested in reinforcement learning schemes and how these methods can be extended to cope with multi-objective cost functions. In collaboration with colleagues from the application domains, machine learning methods are applied to different problems ranging from computer vision, information retrieval, to chemoinformatics.

Analysis of Neural Data:


Here we are interested to apply machine learning and statistical methods to the analysis of multivariate biomedical data, in particular to data which form the basis of our computational studies of neural systems. Research topics vary and currently include spike-sorting and the analysis of multi-tetrode recordings, confocal microscopy and 3D-reconstruction techniques, and the analysis of imaging data. Recently we became interested in the analysis of multimodal data, for example, correlating anatomical, imaging, and genetic data.

Selected Publications

Low-dimensional spike rate models derived from networks of adaptive integrate-and-fire neurons: Comparison and implementation
Citation key Augustin2017PLOS
Author Augustin, M., and Ladenbauer, J., and Baumann, F., and Obermayer, K.
Year 2017
DOI 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005545
Journal PLoS Computational Biology
Volume 13
Abstract The spiking activity of single neurons can be well described by a nonlinear integrate-and-fire model that includes somatic adaptation. When exposed to fluctuating inputs sparsely coupled populations of these model neurons exhibit stochastic collective dynamics that can be effectively characterized using the Fokker-Planck equation. This approach, however, leads to a model with an infinite-dimensional state space and non-standard boundary conditions. Here we derive from that description four simple models for the spike rate dynamics in terms of low-dimensional ordinary differential equations using two different reduction techniques: one uses the spectral decomposition of the Fokker-Planck operator, the other is based on a cascade of two linear filters and a nonlinearity, which are determined from the Fokker-Planck equation and semi-analytically approximated. We evaluate the reduced models for a wide range of biologically plausible input statistics and find that both approximation approaches lead to spike rate models that accurately reproduce the spiking behavior of the underlying adaptive integrate-and-fire population. Particularly the cascade-based models are overall most accurate and robust, especially in the sensitive region of rapidly changing input. For the mean-driven regime, when input fluctuations are not too strong and fast, however, the best performing model is based on the spectral decomposition. The low-dimensional models also well reproduce stable oscillatory spike rate dynamics that are generated either by recurrent synaptic excitation and neuronal adaptation or through delayed inhibitory synaptic feedback. The computational demands of the reduced models are very low but the implementation complexity differs between the different model variants. Therefore we have made available implementations that allow to numerically integrate the low-dimensional spike rate models as well as the Fokker-Planck partial differential equation in efficient ways for arbitrary model parametrizations as open source software. The derived spike rate descriptions retain a direct link to the properties of single neurons, allow for convenient mathematical analyses of network states, and are well suited for application in neural mass/mean-field based brain network models.
Bibtex Type of Publication Selected:structured selected:publications selected:main selected:adaptation
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