Archives for 2009
Last year, Larry Abbott wrote a beautiful review article summarising the explosive growth in theoretical neuroscience over the past 20 years. I really enjoyed the paper.
Abstract: Theoretical neuroscience has experienced explosive growth over the past 20 years. In addition to bringing new researchers into the field with backgrounds in physics, mathematics, computer science, and engineering, theoretical approaches have helped to introduce new ideas and shape directions of neuroscience research. This review presents some of the developments that have occurred and the lessons they have taught us.
A paper in PNAS by Lars Muckli, Marcus J. Naumerd and Wolf Singer provides remarkable evidence of plasticity in the brain.
Abstract: In mammals smooth retinotopic maps of the visual field are formed along the visual processing pathway whereby the left visual field is represented in the right hemisphere and vice versa. The reorganization of retinotopic maps in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) of the thalamus and early visual areas (V1–V3) is studied in a patient who was born with only one cerebral hemisphere. Before the seventh week of embryonic gestation, the development of the patient’s right cerebral hemisphere terminated. Despite the complete loss of her right hemisphere (di- and telencephalon) at birth, the patient’s remaining hemisphere has not only developed maps of the contralateral (right) visual hemifield but, surprisingly, also maps of the ipsilateral (left) visual hemifield. Retinal ganglion-cells changed their predetermined crossing pattern in the optic chiasm and grew to the ipsilateral LGN. In the visual cortex, islands of ipsilateral visual field representations were located along the representations of the vertical meridian. In V1, smooth and continuous maps from contra- and ipsilateral hemifield overlap each other, whereas in ventral V2 and V3 ipsilateral quarter field representations invaded small distinct cortical patches. This reveals a surprising flexibility of the self-organizing developmental mechanisms responsible for map formation.
Over the weekend, I was invited at SciFoo Camp, where Foo = Friend’s of O’Reilly, organized by Google, Nature, and O’Reilly.
I had a chance to converse with Brian Arthur (PARC), Stewart Brand (Santa Fe), John Brockman (Edge), Phillip Campbell (Editor-in-chief, Nature), Walter Fontana (Harvard), Christof Koch (CalTech, Consciousness), Marvin Minsky (MIT, AI), Larry Page (Google), Ani Patel (Neurosciences Institute), George Smoot (Nobelist), Alfred Spector (Google, Director of Research), Dmitri Tymoczko (Priceton), Geoffrey West (President, Santa Fe), and Pete Worden (NASA).
Today, I had the honor and pleasure of spending some time with Professor Nikola Kasabov.
Professor Nikola Kasabov is the Founding Director and the Chief Scientist of the Knowledge Engineering and Discovery Research Institute (KEDRI), Auckland (www.kedri.info/). He holds a Chair of Knowledge Engineering at the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at Auckland University of Technology. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Fellow of the New Zealand Computer Society and a Senior Member of IEEE. He is the President of the International Neural Network Society (INNS) and a Past President of the Asia Pacific Neural Network Assembly (APNNA). He is a member of several technical committees of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society and of the IFIP AI TC12. Kasabov is Associate Editor of several international journals, that include Neural Networks, IEEE TrNN, IEEE TrFS, Information Science, J. Theoretical and Computational Nanosciences. He chairs a series of int. conferences ANNES/NCEI in New Zealand. Kasabov holds MSc and PhD from the Technical University of Sofia. His main research interests are in the areas of intelligent information systems, soft computing, neuro-computing, bioinformatics, brain study, speech and image processing, novel methods for data mining and knowledge discovery. He has published more than 400 publications that include 15 books, 120 journal papers, 60 book chapters, 32 patents and numerous conference papers. He has extensive academic experience at various academic and research organisations: University of Otago, New Zealand; University of Essex, UK; University of Trento, Italy; Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria; University of California at Berkeley; RIKEN and KIT, Japan; TUniversity Kaiserslautern, Germany, and others. More information of Prof. Kasabov can be found on the KEDRI web site: http://www.kedri.info/