Modeling the brain as a dynamical network
Seeking to understand how the brain processes visual information, my collaborators and I have built a model of the monkey visual cortex, which is quite similar to our own. We have focused on an early part of the visual pathway called the primary visual cortex (V1), and have modeled it as a large network of neurons that interact dynamically to compute the model's response to stimuli, mimicking the way neurons compute in the real cortex. I will report on our model's capabilities thus far, including its response to drifting gratings varying in orientation, spatial frequency and contrast. Dynamical mechanisms will be discussed, as will emergent phenomena such as gamma-band rhythms, which are ubiquitous throughout cortex. This work was carried out jointly with Robert Shapley (Center for Neural Science, NYU) and Logan Chariker (CNS/Courant).