Oxford Neurotheory Forum (ONTF)

Seminar talks usually take place on the first and third Wednesday of every month unless stated otherwise. This forum is jointly organised by , , Andrew Saxe, and Chaitanya Chintaluri. If you would like to be added to the Neurotheory mailing list, please email one of us.

Upcoming Talks

ics calendar link

 Thu 16 January 2020 15:00
Le Gros Clark - Lecture Theatre (map)
Dr Wei Ji Ma
New York University, New York
Human planning in large state spaces
Abstract: As AlphaZero has revolutionized the AI of planning in large state spaces, our lack of understanding of how humans plan when the number of possible futures is combinatorially large has come into stark contrast. The strand of psychology that tries to understand human chess play once seemed promising but is now virtually extinct. Instead, most computational cognitive scientists favor extremely simple planning tasks; I will argue that this is a mistake. I will show that it is possible to study human planning in tasks of intermediate complexity while maintaining experimental tractability and computational modelability. I will describe a series of experiments in my lab, mainly on a game we call four-in-a-row -- a variant of tic-tac-toe and Go Moku. I will describe a computational model of human play, inspired by best-first search and fitted to human moves using inverse binomial sampling and Bayesian Adaptive Direct Search. This model predicts moves in unseen positions, decisions in unseen tasks, eye fixation patterns, mouse movements, and response times. The model allows us to computationally characterize the effects of expertise and time pressure, as well as the balance between model-based and model-free systems. More broadly, studying human planning in tasks of intermediate complexity in conjunction with AI-inspired algorithms might open up a new direction in cognitive science and might make comparisons between human and machine intelligence less strained.

Past Talks

Years | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013


 Fri 15 November 2019
Dr. Omri Barak
Technion Israel Institute of Technology
Structure in the randomness of trained recurrent neural networks
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 Thu 07 November 2019
Dr Viola Priesemann
MPI for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Göttingen
Assessing Cortical Dynamics and Function despite the Subsampling Problem
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 Wed 23 October 2019
Dr Zeb Kurth-Nelson
A distributional code for value in dopamine-based reinforcement learning
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 Thu 03 October 2019
Prof Stefano Fusi
Columbia University, New York
The geometry of abstraction
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 Wed 26 June 2019
Dr Yonatan Aljadeff
Imperial College London
Cortical credit assignment via neuromodulatory and inhibitory plasticity
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 Fri 14 June 2019
Dr Joseph Raimondo
University of Cape Town
Chloride ion dynamics in the nervous system
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 Thu 06 June 2019
Prof Henning Sprekeler
Technical University Berlin
Amplifying the redistribution of somato-dendritic inhibition by the interplay of three interneuron types
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 Wed 22 May 2019
Note: Jointly organized with the Cortex Club
Prof Loren Frank
Understanding the brain's model of the external world
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 Wed 15 May 2019
Prof Martin Nawrot
University of Cologne
Memory in the Insect Mushroom Body: Computational models for learning, retention, transfer, and extinction
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 Mon 13 May 2019
Giulio Bondanelli
Ecole normale superieure, Paris
Transient OFF responses in auditory cortex: a signature of non-normal dynamics?
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 Wed 08 May 2019
Prof Michael Frank
Brown University
Corticostriatal computations in learning and decision making
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 Fri 03 May 2019
Note: Please note change in time!
Dr Jake Stroud
University of Cambridge
Spatio-temporal control of neural activity through gain modulation in cortical circuit models
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 Mon 01 April 2019
Dr Merav Stern
University of Washington
From Connectivity Matrices to Rate Dynamics
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 Tue 26 March 2019
Dr Subhaneil Lahiri
Stanford University
Learning and memory with complex synaptic plasticity
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 Tue 19 March 2019
Dr Nima Dehghani
A multiscale perspective of cortical computational dynamics
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 Fri 15 February 2019
Prof Rava Azeredo da Silveira
ENS Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris
Various approaches to online inference - human behavior and theoretical models
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 Wed 19 December 2018
Prof Alain Destexhe
CNRS, Gif sur Yvette, and European Institute for Theoretical Neuroscience, Paris
Propagating waves in visual cortex and their computational role
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 Wed 12 December 2018
Dr Padraig Gleeson
Unifying computational and experimental descriptions of cortical networks across scales
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 Wed 05 December 2018
Dr James Fitzgerald
HHMI Janelia Research Campus
Understanding sensorimotor circuits implementing zebrafish behavior
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 Fri 16 November 2018
Prof Stephen David
Oregon Hearing Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University
Understanding contextual influences on auditory cortical processing
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 Wed 14 November 2018
Prof Jennifer Linden
Neural Mechanisms of Temporal Processing in the Central Auditory System: A Neurotheory of Gap Detection
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 Wed 17 October 2018
Dr Beatriz Mizusaki
University of Bristol
Distinct functional roles determined by synaptic plasticity expression locus
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 Mon 08 October 2018
Note: This is a joint CNCB seminar
Prof Larry Abbott
Columbia University, New York
Operating Principles of a Learning Network in Electric Fish
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 Mon 24 September 2018
Prof Susanne Schreiber
Humboldt University Berlin
A switch in spike generation as a gateway to neuronal synchronization
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 Thu 20 September 2018
Dr Timothy Lillicrap
Google DeepMind
Learning to form memories by predicting the future
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 Wed 19 September 2018
Dr Sina Tootoonian
Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit
Sparse connectivity for MAP inference in linear models using sister mitral cells
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 Wed 05 September 2018
Dr Joana Soldado Magraner
Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit
Linear dynamics of evidence integration in contextual decision making
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 Thu 23 August 2018
Note: Organized by Andrew Parker
Prof Wyeth Bair
University of Washington
"Artiphysiology" reveals V4-like shape tuning in a deep network trained for image classification.
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 Wed 22 August 2018
Prof James L. McClelland
Stanford University, visiting at DeepMind
Integrating new knowledge without catastrophic interference: Computational and theoretical investigations in a hierarchically structured environment
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 Wed 15 August 2018
Dr Simone C. Surace
University of Bern
Limitations of gradient descent as a principle of brain function
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 Tue 26 June 2018
Prof Jan Drugowitsch
Harvard University
The role of confidence in learning to make good decisions
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 Wed 13 June 2018
Dr Kelly Diederen
King's College London
Learning to Believe: Prediction error adaptation as an efficient neurocomputational mechanism for learning about risky outcomes
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 Wed 06 June 2018
Dr Katharina Wilmes
Imperial College London
Interneuron circuits for top-down guided plasticity of sensory representations
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 Wed 30 May 2018
Eszter Vertes
Hierarchical inference and learning using distributed neural representations of uncertainty
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 Wed 23 May 2018
Prof Cesar Renno-Costa
Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte
Modelling the mechanisms of place cell remapping and grid cell realignment
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 Wed 16 May 2018
Dr Albert Compte
Institut d'Investigacions Biomediques August Pi i Sunyer
Synaptic and network mechanisms of serial biases in spatial working memory
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 Wed 09 May 2018
Dr Joao Sacramento
University of Bern, Switzerland
Dendritic error backpropagation in deep cortical microcircuits
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 Mon 23 April 2018
Dr Mehrdad Jazayeri
McGovern Institute, MIT
Flexible mental computations through regulation of cortical dynamics
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 Wed 18 April 2018
Prof Daniel K Wojcik
Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology
Source reconstruction from extracellular potentials, from single cells to whole brains
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 Mon 09 April 2018
Dr Johannes Letzkus
Max Planck Institute for Brain Research
Learning-related plasticity of dendritic inhibition in neocortical layer 1
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 Wed 28 March 2018
Dr Guillaume Hennequin
University of Cambridge
Flexible, optimal motor control in a thalamo-cortical circuit model
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 Mon 26 March 2018
Prof Sam Gershman
Believing in dopamine
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 Tue 27 February 2018
Dr Peter Hasenhuetl
CNCB, University of Oxford
A kinetic account for amphetamine action
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 Tue 06 February 2018
Dr Pedro Goncalves
CAESAR, Bonn, Germany
Flexible statistical inference for mechanistic models of neural dynamics
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 Mon 11 December 2017
Dr Andrew Saxe
A theory of the dynamics of deep learning: Consequences for semantic development
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 Wed 29 November 2017
Matthew Botvinick, M.D., Ph.D.
MeepMind and Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, University College London
Prefrontal cortex as a meta-reinforcement learning system
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 Fri 24 November 2017
Dr Willem Wybo
Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne EPFL
Dynamic compartmentalization in dendrites enables branch-specific learning
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 Wed 22 November 2017
Prof Jeff Moehlis
University of California, Santa Barbara
Controlling Populations of Neurons
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 Wed 15 November 2017
Dr Dan Goodman
Imperial College London
What is simplicity in a complex auditory world?
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 Wed 01 November 2017
Prof Jochen Braun
Otto-von-Guericke-Universitaet Magdeburg
Continuous visual inference and hierarchical attractor dynamics
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 Wed 11 October 2017
Prof Thomas Nowotny
University of Sussex
Biophysical model of the olfactory system of honey bees predicts qualitatively different responses to mixtures
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 Wed 27 September 2017
Prof Gaute Einevoll
Norwegian University of Life Sciences and University of Oslo
What can we learn from local field potentials (LFPs) recorded in the brain?
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 Thu 21 September 2017
Prof Jonathan Rubin
University of Pittsburgh
Basal ganglia activity: The good, the bad, and the depressed
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 Wed 13 September 2017
Danilo Jimenez Rezende, PhD
Approximate Inference and Deep Generative Models
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 Wed 05 July 2017
Prof Josh Berke
UC San Francisco
Rethinking Reward: Dopamine Signals in Learning and Motivation
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 Thu 29 June 2017
Dr Mark Humphries
University of Manchester
A Spiral Attractor Network Drives Rhythmic Locomotion in Aplysia
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 Thu 22 June 2017
Dr David Kastner
Mechanism underlying the retinal computation of predictive sensitization
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 Wed 14 June 2017
Dr Simon Schultz
Imperial College London
Optical Tools for Dissecting Neural Information Processing
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 Wed 17 May 2017
Prof Ingo Bojak
University of Reading
Towards state and parameter estimation in neural populations models (of anaesthesia)
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 Tue 16 May 2017
Note: joint Cortex Club talk
Dr Christian Machens
Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown
Efficient codes and balanced networks
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 Thu 11 May 2017
Note: talk at the room C1, Mathematical Institute, 12-1pm
Dr Kyle Wedgwood
University of Exeter
Riding the waves in spiking neural networks
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 Wed 10 May 2017
Note: joint Neurotheory/Cortex club talk at the Le Gros Clark Lecturer Theatre
Prof Alexander Pouget
University of Geneva
The Agony of Choice: Optimal Policies for Value-based Decision Making
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 Wed 26 April 2017
Dr Nicolangelo Iannella
University of Nottingham
STDP balance and morphology influences the appearance of the dendritic mosaic
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 Wed 05 April 2017
Dr Yann Sweeney
Imperial College London
Diverse population coupling ensures robust yet flexible stimulus representation in a recurrent network model of perceptual learning
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 Wed 29 March 2017
Note: joint Neurotheory/Cortex club talk
Prof Xiao-Jing Wang
New York University Shanghai
What does it mean to build a large-scale brain circuit model?
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 Thu 23 March 2017
Michael Markie
F1000 (and Wellcome Open Research)
Wellcome Open Research - author led publishing
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 Fri 17 March 2017
Dr Thomas E. Nichols
University of Warwick
Large Scale Evaluation of Random Field Theory Inference in fMRI
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 Wed 15 March 2017
Dr Nikolaus Kriegeskorte
University of Cambridge
Testing complex brain-computational models to understand how the brain works
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 Wed 15 February 2017
Ms Grace Lindsay
Columbia University
Modeling Neural and Performance Correlates of Attention
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 Thu 26 January 2017
Dr Tiago Pereira
Imperial College London
Dynamics of hubs: emergent behaviour and phase transitions
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 Wed 11 January 2017
Prof Stephen Coombes
University of Nottingham
Next generation neural field modelling
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 Wed 14 December 2016
Dr Michael Spratling
Kings College London
Predictive coding as a model of cortical function
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 Wed 23 November 2016
Dr Ben Torben-Nielsen
University of Hertfordshire
Neuronal computation: A tale of dendritic structure and function
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 Wed 16 November 2016
Mr Dane Corneil
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
Preplay and path planning in maze-like environments with attractor networks
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 Wed 19 October 2016
Dr Tara Keck
University College London
Spatial scales of homeostatic plasticity in mouse visual cortex
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 Wed 21 September 2016
Dr Tim O'Leary
University of Cambridge
Reconciling flexible neuromodulation, variability and regulatory control in neurons
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 Wed 17 August 2016
Mr Alex Seeholzer
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
A mean-field theory for drift-diffusion dynamics of spiking continuous attractor models
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 Wed 22 June 2016
Dr Bob Wilson
University of Arizona
Information seeking and randomness drive human exploration
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 Mon 20 June 2016
Dr Angela Yu
University of California San Diego
A Decision-Theoretic Framework for Active Cognition
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 Mon 13 June 2016
Dr Matthias Munk
Technical University Darmstadt
Neural Dynamics in Prefrontal Cortex: Ensemble Codes, Oscillatory Structure and Avalanches during short-term memory
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 Wed 18 May 2016
Dr Cian O'Donnell
University of Bristol
Multidimensional imbalances in excitation/inhibition in Fragile-X Syndrome
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 Wed 04 May 2016
Dr Jill O'Reilly
University of Oxford
Control of entropy in internal models
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 Mon 25 April 2016
Note: Joint CNCB / Neurotheory seminar
Dr Shaul Druckmann
Janelia Research Campus
Relating Circuit Dynamics to Computation: Robustness and Dimension-specific Computation in Cortical Dynamics
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 Wed 06 April 2016
Dr Eleni Vasilaki
University of Sheffield
Emergence of connectivity motifs via the interaction of long-term and sort-term plasticity
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 Wed 16 March 2016
Prof Andreas Herz
LMU Munich
Decoding the population activity of grid cells for spatial localization and goal-directed navigation
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 Tue 15 March 2016
Note: this talk will be at the Department of Experimental Psychology, C113 Weiskrantz Room between 1pm to 2pm
Dr Thomas Akam
University of Oxford
Optogenetic silencing of anterior cingulate cortex disrupts model-based reinforcement learning in mice
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 Thu 10 March 2016
Note: Joint Experimental Psychology / Neurotheory seminar
Dr Keren Haroush
Harvard University
Neuronal underpinnings of social interaction
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 Wed 02 March 2016
Dr Pablo Jercog
IDIBAPS and Cellex Inst., Barcelona
Time dependent spatial information carried by the neural population in hippocampal area CA1 during familiarization
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 Wed 17 February 2016
Note: Joint CNCB / Neurotheory seminar
Prof Leslie Griffith
Brandeis University
A single pair of neurons links sleep to memory consolidation in Drosophila melanogaster
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 Wed 10 February 2016
Mr James Whittington
University of Oxford
Learning in cortical networks through error back-propagation
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 Wed 27 January 2016
Prof Peter Latham
Gatsby Unit for Computational Neuroscience, UCL
Probabilistic Synapses
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 Wed 13 January 2016
Dr Greg Wayne
Deep Mind
Differentiable Neural Computers for Memory-Based Control
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 Wed 16 December 2015
Dr Sophie Deneve
Ecole Normale Superieure
Learning to represent signals spike by spike
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 Wed 02 December 2015
Dr Claudia Clopath
Imperial College
Broad inhibitory tuning shaped by synaptic plasticity with homeostasis
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 Tue 24 November 2015
Note: Joint CNCB / Neurotheory seminar
Dr Mate Lengyel
University of Cambridge
Adaptation to natural input statistics: a key to dendritic computation and plasticity
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 Wed 18 November 2015
Dr Pedro Goncalves
Gatsby Unit for Computational Neuroscience, UCL
Dynamics of an oculomotor integrator revealed by instantaneous optogenetic perturbations
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 Wed 11 November 2015
Dr James Bennett
University of Oxford
Patterning of receptive fields by spatiotemporally inseparable correlations and STDP
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 Wed 04 November 2015
Arvind Kumar
KTH Royal Institute of Technology/University of Freiburg
Closed-loop feedback control for spiking neuronal network dynamics
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 Wed 14 October 2015
Paul Brodersen
University of Oxford
How does the topology of neuronal network change during spatial learning?
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 Mon 28 September 2015
Kishore Kuchibhotla
New York University
Cholinergic switching conveys behavioral context by controlling cortical inhibition
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 Wed 16 September 2015
Piotr Suffczynski
University of Warsaw
Modelling seizure transitions with neuronal and ionic dynamics
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 Fri 11 September 2015
Sen Song
Tsinghua University
Attentional Neural Network: Feature Selection Using Cognitive Feedback
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 Wed 08 July 2015
N. Alex Cayco Gajic
University College London
Coordinated neural activity: mechanistic origins and impact on stimulus coding
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 Mon 06 July 2015
Yashar Ahmadian
Columbia University
Contextual modulation of gamma rhythms in inhibition stabilized cortical networks
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 Wed 24 June 2015
Michael Okun
University College London
Diverse coupling of neurons to populations in sensory cortex
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 Fri 19 June 2015
Note: Joint Statistics / Neurotheory seminar
Geoffrey Hinton
University of Toronto/Google
Deep Learning
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 Wed 27 May 2015
John Mikhael
University of Oxford
Learning Reward Uncertainty in the Basal Ganglia
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 Wed 13 May 2015
Carlos Stein N. Brito
Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne EPFL
Theory of synaptic plasticity for receptive field development
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 Thu 07 May 2015
Guillaume Hennequin
University of Cambridge
Inhibition-stabilized balanced dynamics account for stimulus-induced changes of noise variability in the cortex
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 Wed 08 April 2015
Ali Neishabouri
Imperial College London
Noise and other constraints on the design of neural fibres
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 Wed 18 February 2015
Rafal Bogacz
University of Oxford
A tutorial on the free-energy model of perception and learning
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 Wed 04 February 2015
Friedemann Zenke
Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne EPFL
Memory formation and recall in spiking neural networks
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 Wed 21 January 2015
Alejo Nevado-Holgado
University of Oxford
Model-guided analysis of beta band oscillations in the basal ganglia
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 Fri 09 January 2015
Patrick Simen
Oberlin College
Interval timing and decision making with an opponent Poisson diffusion model
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 Wed 07 January 2015
Adam Ponzi
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST)
Edge of chaos in the striatum and for temporal expectation
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 Wed 10 December 2014
Hayriye Cagnan
University of Oxford
Phase specific stimulation of tremor oscillators
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 Wed 26 November 2014
Mark Humphries
University of Manchester
Tonic dopamine's control of the exploration-exploitation trade-off
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 Wed 12 November 2014
Alvaro Tejero-Cantero
University of Oxford
Automatic brain state discovery from multivariate LFP time series
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 Wed 29 October 2014
Tim Behrens
University of Oxford
Can we look at neuronal and synaptic computations in humans? And why should we want to.
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 Thu 16 October 2014
Blake Richards
University of Toronto
Memories are not formed in a vacuum: how multiple memories are combined during consolidation
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 Wed 15 October 2014
Bilal Haider
University College London
Synaptic inhibition regulates cortical activity in vivo.
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 Wed 01 October 2014
Adam Packer
University College London
All-optical manipulation and recording of neural circuit activity in vivo.
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 Wed 17 September 2014
Guillaume Hennequin
University of Cambridge
From dynamics to statistics: Trial-average trajectories and across-trial variability of cortical responses.
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 Tue 10 June 2014
Brent Doiron
Dept. of Mathematics, University of Pittsburgh
Formation of neuronal assemblies and their maintenance during spontaneous cortical activity.
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 Wed 28 May 2014
Tim Vogels
CNCB, Oxford
Connection-type specific biases make uniform random network models consistent with cortical recordings.
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 Wed 16 April 2014
Bill Podlaski
CNCB, Oxford
Learning sensory representations with retroaxonal feedback.
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 Wed 02 April 2014
Christian Pozzorini
Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne EPFL
Adaptive coding in single neurons.
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 Wed 19 March 2014
Marius Usher
Dept. of Psychology, Tel Aviv University
Absolute vs relative decisions: Contrasting choice models via controlled evidence manipulation.
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 Wed 05 March 2014
Timothy Lillicrap
Dept. of Pharmacology, Oxford
Random feedback weights support learning in deep neural networks.
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 Wed 19 February 2014
Ben Willmore
Biomedical Science, Oxford
Gain control in the auditory system.
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 Wed 05 February 2014
Akihiro Eguchi
Dept. of Experimental Psychology, Oxford
Modelling the development of object shape representations in V4 and TEO.
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 Wed 22 January 2014
Shamik Dasgupta
CNCB, Oxford
Models of decision making in fruit flies.
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 Wed 08 January 2014
Rui Ponte Costa
Inst. for Adaptive and Neural Computation, Univ. of Edinburgh
Pre and post-synaptic plasticity in local cortical circuits.
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 Thu 02 January 2014
Christine Constantinople
Princeton University
Thalamic drive of deep cortical layers.
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 Thu 02 January 2014
Rob Froemke
NYU School of Medicine
Cortical plasticity improves sensory perception.
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 Wed 11 December 2013
Rafal Bogacz
Div. of Clinical Neuroscience, Oxford
Do we have Bayes' theorem hard-wired in the basal ganglia?
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 Wed 27 November 2013
Daniel Walters
Dept. of Experimental Psychology, Oxford
Accurate path integration of head direction: mechanisms for updating a packet of neural activity at the correct speed.
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 Wed 13 November 2013
Chris Summerfield
Dept. of Experimental Psychology, Oxford
Adaptation and prediction in perceptual categorisation.
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