Chris Eliasmith, Director of the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience, received the prestigious John C. Polanyi Award and is also an inaugural member of the Royal Society of Canada's College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists.
Director, The Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute
Johns Hopkins University
Shape Information in the Primate Brain
We study neural coding of shape in the ventral pathway of primate visual cortex. Because natural shape is a virtually infinite domain, neural coding is sparse and difficult to define. To compensate, we use genetic algorithms to focus stimulus sampling on the response ranges of specific neurons. This yields datasets that can constrain quantitative models relating stimulus geometry to neural responses. In previous studies, we have used genetic algorithms to show how objects are encoded as configurations of 3D surface fragments and medial axis elements. In recent work, we have studied large scale shape coding of scenes and rooms in the ventral pathway. In both object and scene representation, neural coding dimensions reflect the geometry of the natural world and the information we need about it.
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