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Wednesday, 5 pm CET, i.e, 11 am EDT


Organized by David Hansel & Carl van Vreeswijk*, CNRS,  France



About the Seminar

VVTNS  is a weekly digital seminar on Zoom targeting the theoretical neuroscience community. Created as the World Wide Neuroscience Seminar (WWTNS) in November 2020 and renamed in homage to Carl van Vreeswijk in Memoriam (April 20, 2022), its aim is to be a platform to exchange ideas among theoreticians. Speakers have the occasion to talk about theoretical aspects of their work which cannot be discussed in a setting where the majority of the audience consists of experimentalists. The seminars  are 45 min long followed by a discussion and are held on Wednesdays at 5 pm in Western Europe, i.e, 11 am EDT. The talks are recorded with authorization of the speaker and are available to everybody on our YouTube channel.


To participate in the seminar you need to fill out a registration form after which you will

receive an email telling you how to connect.

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Abigail Morrison

Jülich Research Center

& RWTH, Aachen

June, 1, 2022

Heterogeneity and non-random connectivity in reservoir computing 

Reservoir computing is a promising framework to study cortical computation, as it is based on continuous, online processing and the requirements and operating principles are compatible with cortical circuit dynamics. However, the framework has issues that limit its scope as a generic model for cortical processing. The most obvious of these is that, in traditional models, learning is restricted to the output projections and takes place in a fully supervised manner. If such an output layer is interpreted at face value as downstream computation, this is biologically questionable. If it is interpreted merely as a demonstration that the network can accurately represent the information, this immediately raises the question of what would be biologically plausible mechanisms for transmitting the information represented by a reservoir and incorporating it in downstream computations. Another major issue is that we have as yet only modest insight into how the structural and dynamical features of a network influence its computational capacity, which is necessary not only for gaining an understanding of those features in biological brains, but also for exploiting reservoir computing as a neuromorphic application. In this talk, I will first demonstrate a method for quantifying the representational capacity of reservoirs without training them on tasks. Based on this technique, which allows systematic comparison of systems, I then present our recent work towards understanding the roles of heterogeneity and connectivity patterns in enhancing both the computational properties of a network and its ability to reliably transmit to downstream networks. Finally, I will give a brief taster of our current efforts to apply the reservoir computing framework to magnetic systems as an approach to neuromorphic computing.



David Hansel

I am a theoretical neuroscientist at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, France and visiting professor at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. I am mainly interested in the recurrent dynamics in the cortex and 

basal ganglia.

Carl van Vreeswijk *

I am a theoretical neuroscientist working at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, France. My main interest is the dynamics of recurrent networks of neurons in the sensory system


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