Computational Models for Generic Cortical Microcircuits

W. Maass, T. Natschlaeger, and H. Markram


The human nervous system processes a continuous stream of multi-modal input from a rapidly changing environment. A key challenge for neural modeling is to explain how the neural microcircuits (columns, minicolumns, etc.) in the cerebral cortex whose anatomical and physiological structure is quite similar in many brain areas and species achieve this enormous computational task. We propose a computational model that could explain the potentially universal computational capabilities and does not require a task-dependent construction of neural circuits. Instead it is based on principles of high dimensional dynamical systems in combination with statistical learning theory, and can be implemented on generic evolved or found recurrent circuitry. This new approach towards understanding neural computation on the micro-level also suggests new ways of modeling cognitive processing in larger neural systems. In particular it questions traditional ways of thinking about neural coding.

Reference: W. Maass, T. Natschlaeger, and H. Markram. Computational models for generic cortical microcircuits. In J. Feng, editor, Computational Neuroscience: A Comprehensive Approach, chapter 18, pages 575-605. Chapman & Hall/CRC, Boca Raton, 2004.