The European Physical Journal Special Topics

, Volume 142, Issue 1, pp 163–225 | Cite as

Dynamical neural networks: Modeling low-level vision at short latencies

The quest for the neural code of vision at the first milliseconds

Abstract.

Our goal is to understand the dynamics of neural computations in low-level vision. We study how the substrate of this system, that is local biochemical neural processes, could combine to give rise to an efficient and global perception. We will study these neural computations at different scales from the single-cell to the whole visual system to infer generic aspects of the under- lying neural code which may help to understand this cognitive ability. In fact, the architecture of cortical areas, such as the Primary Visual Cortex (V1), is massively parallel and we will focus on cortical columns as generic adaptive micro-circuits. To stress on the dynamical aspect of the processing, we will also focus on the transient response, that is during the first milliseconds after the presentation of a stimulus. In a generic model of a visual area, we propose to study the neural code as implementing visual pattern matching, that is as efficiently inverting a known model of image synthesis. A possible solution offered by the architecture of the visual pathways could be to represent at first on the surface of the cortical area how well the prototypical visual features are matched by a combination of inferential mechanisms as ideal observers. We studied the efficiency of this representation by rating the statistics of the output using natural scenes, that is scenes occurring frequently. We show that this may be finally used to provide a behavioral output such as an eye movement. However, constraints specific to the visual system imply that the set of prototypical features is not independent and that the cortical columns should communicate to produce an efficient, sparse solution. We will present efficient algorithms and representations based on the event-based nature of neural computations. By explicitely defining this efficiency, we propose then a simple implementation of Sparse Spike Coding using greedy inference mechanisms but also how the system may adapt in a unsupervised fashion. These computations may be implemented in simple models of neural networks by explicitly setting the lateral connectivity between populations of columns. Using natural scenes, this algorithm provides a model of V1 which exhibit prototypical properties of neural activities in that area. We show simple applications in the field of image processing as a quantitative method to evaluate these different cortical models.

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Copyright information

© EDP Sciences/Società Italiana di Fisica/Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Team, INCM/CNRS (UMR 6193)Marseille Cedex 20France

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