Spikes: Exploring the Neural Code / Edition 1

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Overview

What does it mean to say that a certain set of spikes is the right answer to a computational problem? In what sense does a spike train convey information about the sensory world? Spikes begins by providing precise formulations of these and related questions about the representation of sensory signals in neural spike trains. The answers to these questions are then pursued in experiments on sensory neurons.Intended for neurobiologists with an interest in mathematical analysis of neural data as well as the growing number of physicists and mathematicians interested in information processing by "real" nervous systems, Spikes provides a self-contained review of relevant concepts in information theory and statistical decision theory.

Characterizing neural response, information transmission w/ spike trains, conditional mean as optimal estimator, etc.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"A joy to read.... This book will undoubtedly become a classic. Theideas presented in it have already begun (in no small part through thework of the authors) to reshape our views of the neural code. Thisbook will make them accessible to a much wider audience." Anthony Zador ,Science

"Spikes is a really wonderful book. The particulartheory about how the brain works that informs the presentation, and thusdetermines how neural coding is to be described, is clearly thought throughand the arguments are attractively and intelligently presented." Charles F. Stevens, The Salk Institute

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262681087
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 6/25/1999
  • Series: Computational Neuroscience
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Series Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 Introduction 1
Ch. 2 Foundations 19
Ch. 3 Quantifying information transmission 101
Ch. 4 Reliability of computation 189
Ch. 5 Directions 255
Epilogue: Homage to the single spike 279
Appendix Mathematical asides 281
References 369
Index 389
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2000

    Neurobiology takes an unexpected hit from a bat out of ...

    How fast can a bat make up its mind? With its refined sonar system, a bat can detect a looming obstruction and swerve to avoid it in a split second. Experiments show that the bat has time to process only one spike, or nerve impulse, in the available time window. This is impressive, but it calls into question the long established idea that the nervous system measures and communicates information (to the brain) as a function of the time intervals between spikes. It takes two spikes to open and close a time interval. For the bat, using just one spike to make its decision, there exists no interval to measure. Somehow, a single spike is - after all -- capable of conveying information to the brain. This very surprising news was revealed not only in the bat experiments, but by a substantial body of experimental results that have filtered into the literature over time. This book gathers them up and then asks anew: How does a nerve convey information about the world toward the brain? What's the real code? It is a crucially important question - one of the most important questions in human history, in fact -- because before one can make workable theories about how a brain works, one must know what sorts of signals it receives and acts upon. The authors offer and review alternative codes, but one answer seems quite transparent. The shocking secret of neural encoding is that there is no secret -- no code. A single spike conveys information. No computation or decipherment is required to extract it. But how? The pulse cannot be amplitude modulated (this is an absolute). But it can surely do many other clever things that would elude detection by the instruments used to study nerve impulses. The impulse could spin. Or wobble. It could and probably does travel up the axon membrane in one of many discrete longitudinal channels, formed by protein links between adjacent ion channels. In such a nerve the information, or sensory increment level, is inherent in the channel number. By all means, read spikes for the many fresh ideas it cuts loose. All in a calm, measured and very sensible tone of voice.

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