Lai-Sang Young | New York University
Dynamical systems, statistical mechanics and the brain
The cerebral cortex is a thin layer of neural tissue in the mammalian brain. It plays key roles in sensory processing, thought, memory, and other conscious behaviors. In this talk, I would like to propose a mathematical idealization of a part of the cerebral cortex, depicting it as a structured network of interacting neurons. It is an attempt to conceptualize cortical dynamics, and to do so in a way that is consistent with neuroanatomy and physiology. Local circuits will be studied as dynamical systems, while individual layers of different cortical areas will be treated borrowing ideas from nonequilibrium statistical mechanics. I will try to convey the flavor of the dynamics on the neuronal level, and use a biologically-constrained, omputational model of the monkey visual cortex to illustrate activity on a larger scale as cortex responds in real time to certain visual stimuli.