Bai Colloquium with Prof. William Bialek - Recent progress in statistical mechanics for networks of real neurons
Recent progress in statistical mechanics for networks of real neurons
Bai Colloquium with Prof. William Bialek
Abstract: Perceptions and actions, thoughts and memories result from the coordinated activity of hundreds or even thousands of neurons in the brain. It is an old dream of the physics community to provide a statistical mechanics description for these and other emergent phenomena of life. These theoretical aspirations appear in a new light because of recent developments in our ability to measure the electrical activity of the brain, now sampling thousands of individual neurons simultaneously over hours or days. We review the surprising progress that has been made in bringing theory and experiment together, focusing on maximum entropy methods and a phenomenological renormalization group. These approaches have uncovered new, quantitatively reproducible collective behaviors in networks of real neurons, and provide examples of rich parameter free predictions that agree in detail with experiment.
A lunch buffet will be offered to all the participants at the end of the talk.