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Kevan MARTIN "A Blueprint for Neocortex."

Abstract :


Every thought, every idea, every memory, every decision, and every action we have to make, arises from the activity of neurons in our brains.
The results of some of this activity surround us: household objects, books, technology and art. Of all brain structures, the neocortex, which forms over 80% of the volume of the human brain is, arguably, the most critical structure to what makes us human. This is a paradox, because the local circuits of the neocortex, are assumed to be very similar in all mammals, from mouse to man. We have suggested that the neocortex is built of ‘canonical’ circuits that are optimized for a class of 'algorithm' that can be implemented for the full range of demands of behaviour, including perception, cognition, and action. Testing this hypothesis requires that we describe the blueprint and operations of the basic circuit – more easily said than done – but nevertheless we have made significant progress in describing in detail the circuit of the cat’s visual cortex. This work has already revealed some basic design principles and it suggests some of the basic computations that could explain the computational robustness of neocortex.

Selected publications

2011
Anderson, JC and Kennedy, H and Martin, KA Pathways of attention: synaptic relationships of frontal eye field to V4, lateral intraparietal cortex, and area 46 in macaque monkey., J Neurosci., 31:(30) 10872-81, 2011
2010
da Costa, N M and Fuersinger, D and Martin, K A C The synaptic organization of the claustral projection to the cat's visual cortex, Journal of Neuroscience, 30:(39) 13166-13170, 2010
da Costa, N M and Martin, K A C Whose cortical column would that be?, Frontiers in neuroanatomy(4) 16, 2010
Heinzle, J and Hepp, K and Martin, K A C A biologically realistic cortical model of eye movement control in reading, Psychological Review, 117:(3) 808-830, 2010

Scientific focus :

Every thought, every idea, every memory, every decision, and every action we have and make, arises from the activity of neurons in our brains. The results of some of this activity surround us: household objects, books, technology and art. Of all brain structures, the neocortex, which forms over 80% of the volume of the human brain is, arguably, the most critical to what makes us human. This is a paradox, because the basic local architecture of the neocortex in all mammals, from mouse to man, appears to be very similar and is determined by the laminar distribution of relatively few types of excitatory and inhibitory neurons organized according to common principles of connectivity. My research goal is to answer just two questions: 'what is neocortex?'and, 'what does it do?' (from Kevan Martin)

Andréas Frick