A novel theoretical framework for mathematically modeling nerve cells has illuminated for the first time how small synaptic impulses enable non-linear information processing in the brain. Reported in PLoS Computational Biology, the findings offer fundamental insights relevant to a wide range of biological, physical and technical systems.
In the field of neuroscience, neurons are known to communicate via so-called gaction potentialsh, brief impulses which cause a cellfs membrane potential to rise and fall. Only when many such impulses together exceed a threshold value does the neuron gfireh, releasing its action potential to target neurons. How neurons transfer action potentials from inputs into outputs determines which elementary operations they are able to perform, and at what rate.
With their latest work, researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute and Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience set out to resolve contradictory findings uncovered earlier regarding this input-output relationship. At issue was the conventional theory of spiking neuronal networks, which approximates impulses in the limit where they become vanishingly tiny and infinitely numerous, limiting the capabilities of individual neurons to simple addition of inputs.
Using a newly-developed high-precision method for simulating nonlinear neuron models (see references), the team had previously uncovered contradictions in this theory. To unravel this mystery, the researchers developed a new analytic framework which explicitly incorporates the finite effect of each input at the critical boundary near the firing threshold. With this change, they show that not only can neurons process information far faster than previously believed, they can also perform nonlinear operations such as multiplication that are key to complex information processing.
While more accurately capturing the network aspect of neural dynamics, the new framework also reveals how cooperation between seemingly uncoordinated input signals enables neurons to perform many non-linear operations at the same time. Future work will build on these findings toward a better understanding of brain function, a fundamental requirement for treating neural diseases.
For more information, please contact:
Hanuschkin A, Kunkel S, Helias M, Morrison A and Diesmann M (2010). A general and efficient method for incorporating precise spike times in globally time-driven simulations. Front. Neuroinform. 4:113. doi:10.3389/fninf.2010.00113The simulation software is freely available from the NEST Initiative: http://www.nest-initiative.org
Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy