UTCS Colloquium/AI-James A. Bednar/University of Edinburgh: "Building a Comprehensive Model for the Development and Function of the Visual Cortex" ACES 2.402, Tuesday, August 4, 2009, 4:00 pm

Contact Name: 
Jenna Whitney
Date: 
Aug 4, 2009 4:00pm - 5:00pm

Type of Talk: UTCS Colloquium/ AI

Speaker/Affiliation: Jam

es A. Bednar/ University of Edinburgh

Date/Time: August 4, 2009/ 4:00
pm

Location: ACES 2.402

Host: Risto Miikkulainen

Talk Title

: Building a Comprehensive Model for the Development and Function of
the

Visual Cortex

Talk Abstract:
Vision is a standard system for studyin

g cortical sensory processing.
Previous computational models of adult pri

mary visual cortex (V1) have been
able to account for many of the measure

d properties of V1 neurons, but not how
or why these particular properti

es arise. Previous developmental models have
been able to reproduce the o

verall organization of specific feature maps in
V1, such as orientation

maps, but the neurons in the simulated maps behave
quite unlike real V1

neurons, and in many cases are too abstract even to be
testable on actua

l visual stimuli. I believe that the complex adult circuitry
only makes s

ense when considering the developmental process that created it,
and con

versely, that the developmental process only makes sense if leading to
a
system that can perform behaviorally relevant visual tasks.

According

ly, in this talk I outline a long-term project to build the first
model

to explain both the development and the function of V1. To do this,
rese

archers in my group are building the first developmental models with
wiri

ng consistent with V1, the first to have realistic behavior with respect

nto visual contrast, the first to include all of the various visual featur

e
dimensions, and the first to include all of the major sources of conne

ctivity
that modulate V1 neuron responses. The goal is to have a comprehe

nsive
explanation for why V1 is wired as it is in the adult, and how tha

t circuitry
leads to the observed behavior of the neurons during visual t

asks. This
approach leads to experimentally testable predictions at each

stage, and can
also be applied to understanding other sensory cortices,
such as somatosensory
and auditory cortex.

Speaker Bio:
Jim Bedna

r leads the Computational Systems Neuroscience research group at the
Univ

ersity of Edinburgh, and is the deputy director of the Edinburgh Doctoral

Training Centre in Neuroinformatics and Computational Neuroscience. His 2

002
Ph.D. in Computer Science is from the University of Texas at Austin,
and he
also has degrees in Philosophy and Electrical Engineering. His re

search
focuses on computational modeling of the development and function

of mammalian
visual systems. He is a co-author of the monograph "Computat

ional Maps in the
Visual Cortex" (Springer, 2005), and is the lead auth

or of the Topographica
cortical modeling software package (see topographi

ca.org). He is also a member
of the Board of Directors for the annual int

ernational Computational
Neuroscience Meeting.

If you would like to

speak with James Bednar on August 5th, go to sign up schedule atSign-up sc

hedule at http://www.cs.utexas.edu/department/webevent/utcs/events/cgi/list

_events.cgi