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Models of Neural Development


Topographic projections between neural sheets, orientation columns and ocular dominance columns in early visual areas have served as paradigmatic model systems for understanding the mechanisms underlying neural plasticity and development. Using mathematical models and computer simulations we investigated how activity driven and intrinsic processes interact in order to generate the observed anatomical connectivity patterns and response properties of neurons. We describe the development of those patterns as a goal-oriented (in the sense of underlying cost-functions) self-organizing process, which extracts information from the environment and imprints this knowledge into neural circuits. Particular emphasis was given to competitive networks including the Self-Organizing Map, which are known to trade smoothness vs. completeness of representations and which lead to patterns which fit experimental data surprisingly well.The mathematical properties of self-organizing maps were also analysed in a machine learning context. For details see "Research" page "Learning Vector Quantization and Self-organizing Maps"

Acknowledgements: Research was funded by BMBF, DFG, and the Technische Universität Berlin.

Selected Publications:

The Joint Development of Orientation and Ocular Dominance: role of Constraints
Citation key Piepenbrock1997
Author Piepenbrock, C. and Ritter, H. and Obermayer, K.
Pages 959 – 970
Year 1997
DOI 10.1162/neco.1997.9.5.959
Journal Neural Computation
Volume 9
Publisher MIT Press
Abstract Correlation-based learning (CBL) has been suggested as the mechanism which underlies the development of simple-cell receptive fields in the primary visual cortex of cats, including orientation preference (OR) and ocular dominance (OD) (Linsker, 19986; Miller, Keller, and Stryker 1989). CBL has been applied successfully to the development of OR and OD individually (Miller, Keller, and Stryker, 1989; Miller, 1994; Miyashita and Tanaka, 1991; Erwin, Obermayer, and Schulten, 1995), but the conditions for their joint development have not been studied (but see \\citeerwi95b for independent work on the same question) in contrast to competitive Hebbian models (Obermayer, Blasdel, and Schulten, 1992). In this note we provide insight into why this has been the case: OR and OD decouple in symmetric CBL models and a joint development of OR and OD is possible only in a parameter regime that depends on nonlinear mechanisms.
Bibtex Type of Publication Selected:development
Link to publication Link to original publication Download Bibtex entry

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