[Comp-neuro] Hilbert's questions

Bill Lytton billl at neurosim.downstate.edu
Tue Aug 12 17:08:39 CEST 2008

>  grandest level it seems to me there is only one question: "What is each neuron communicating,
>  and how is the message encoded."

I thought it was noted in recent discourse that the answer is nothing and not? -- ie
populations are needed.

>  That said, it could be an interesting exercise to come up with a list of the current Top Ten
>  Topics attracting the attention of

Personally I would echo Martin and Douglas in their many papers (from which I recommend Neuron
2007 56:226-238 for its broad scope) that we need to know how it is wired where 'it' may be
neocortex, thalamus, olfactory cortex or even bug whateveritis-ex.

Framed computationally this could involve wiring exploration (which we are doing lately) or
development algorithms or new Hebb variants.  Of course, without the accompanying
physiological/anatomical exploration this will be meaningless.

Admittedly this is a rather low-level question without the grand sweep of a Hilbert q. but
then biology is often grubby (even literally) rather than ethereal.


William W. Lytton, MD
Professor of Physiology, Pharmacology, Biomedical Engineering, Neurology
State University of NY, Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
billl at neurosim.downstate.edu http://it.neurosim.downstate.edu/~billl

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