Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Secrets of the Brain: Researchers decipher parts of the neuronal code

Date:
December 27, 2009
Source:
TU Graz
Summary:
The human brain works at a far higher level of complexity than previously thought. What has been given little attention up to now in the information processing of neuronal circuits has been the time factor. "Liquid computing" -- a new theory about how these complex networks of nerve cells actually work -- has just passed its first test.

The human brain works at a far higher level of complexity than previously thought. What has been given little attention up to now in the information processing of neuronal circuits has been the time factor. "Liquid computing" -- a new theory about how these complex networks of nerve cells actually work from computer scientists at Graz University of Technology -- has just passed its first test.

An interdisciplinary co-operation with neuroscientists from the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Brain Research in Frankfurt managed to show that early processing stages in the brain pool information over a longer period. For the evaluation of the experiments, the researchers also had to crack the neuronal code. The scientists published the new findings of their research work, which is funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF in Austria, in the current edition of PLoS Biology.

The idea that the brain processes information step by step appears out of date. "The human brain does not work on the principle of the assembly line. In processing information, it is possible that time is treated much more flexibly than previously thought," explained Wolfgang Maass, head of the Institute for Theoretical Computer Science at Graz University of Technology. Like waves on a pool

His Graz colleague, Stefan Hδusler, compares the basic principle with a surface of water. "The brain works like a pond in which stones are thrown. The waves caused by this don't disappear immediately, but rather overlap with each other and collect information about how many stones were thrown in and how big they were. The main difference is just that the waves in the brain spread in a network of neurons and at very high speed," explained Stefan Hδusler.

The theory of "liquid computing" was then experimentally investigated for the first time in co-operation with Frankfurt brain researchers Danko Nikolić and Wolf Singer. However, the evaluation of the experiments proved a challenge for the computer scientists. They had to crack the coding scheme by which large numbers of neurons encode information in a distributed manner. They were able achieve this with the help of new methods from automated pattern recognition. Simulating the human brain as vision

The underlying theory of liquid computing was developed by Swiss neuroscientist Henry Markram together with Graz University of Technology computer scientist Maass who has only this year published his new model for the calculations in the human brain in the journal Nature Reviews in Neuroscience. This theory of information processing in neuronal circuits in the brain was experimentally investigated.

"The results from the collaboration with the MPI, led by well-known brain researcher Wolf Singer, is one of those rare cases where a hypothesis on the organization of computations in the brain that emerged from computer science theory was tested through neurobiological experiments, and has been confirmed," added Wolfgang Maass. The vision of the researchers is to develop new perspectives to better understand the interaction of the cells in the brain, ultimately ranging to comprehensively simulating parts of the brain.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by TU Graz. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Victor et al. Distributed Fading Memory for Stimulus Properties in the Primary Visual Cortex. PLoS Biology, 2009; 7 (12): e1000260 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000260

Cite This Page:

TU Graz. "Secrets of the Brain: Researchers decipher parts of the neuronal code." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091223215247.htm>.
TU Graz. (2009, December 27). Secrets of the Brain: Researchers decipher parts of the neuronal code. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091223215247.htm
TU Graz. "Secrets of the Brain: Researchers decipher parts of the neuronal code." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091223215247.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins