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TU Berlin

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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

Spatiotemporal patterns of adaptation-induced slow oscillations in a whole-brain model of slow-wave sleep
Citation key Cakan2022
Author Cakan, C. and Dimulescu, C. and Khakimova, L. and Obst, D. and Flöel, A. and Obermayer, K.
Pages 800101
Year 2022
DOI https://doi.org/10.3389/fncom.2021.800101
Journal Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience
Volume 15
Abstract During slow-wave sleep, the brain is in a self-organized regime in which slow oscillations (SOs) between up- and down-states travel across the cortex. While an isolated piece of cortex can produce SOs, the brain-wide propagation of these oscillations are thought to be mediated by the long-range axonal connections. We address the mechanism of how SOs emerge and recruit large parts of the brain using a whole-brain model constructed from empirical connectivity data in which SOs are induced independently in each brain area by a local adaptation mechanism. Using an evolutionary optimization approach, good fits to human resting-state fMRI data and sleep EEG data are found at values of the adaptation strength close to a bifurcation where the model produces a balance between local and global SOs with realistic spatiotemporal statistics. Local oscillations are more frequent, last shorter, and have a lower amplitude. Global oscillations spread as waves of silence across the undirected brain graph, traveling from anterior to posterior regions. These traveling waves are caused by heterogeneities in the brain network in which the connection strengths between brain areas determine which areas transition to a down-state first, and thus initiate traveling waves across the cortex. Our results demonstrate the utility of whole-brain models for explaining the origin of large-scale cortical oscillations and how they are shaped by the connectome.
Bibtex Type of Publication Selected:publications
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