An Information Theoretic Approach to Stimulus Processing in the Olfactory System

Chapter

Abstract

Biological communication and information systems have evolved over millions of years. Although they have been optimized under different design criteria than recent man-made technical communication systems, both are subject to the same information theoretic principles. It is the purpose of this proposal to design manageable channel models which describe information flow and signal processing by cellular and neural entities. In biology, channels are formed by transmitting intertwined chemical and electrical stimuli. A typical, however, still tractable example is the olfactory system of mammals. Mice will be used as a model to explore the basic principles of information exchange between sensory neurons and the brain by information theoretic means. Massive parallelism, optimal quantization, and information fusion will be important challenges to cope with. The final goal of this proposal is twofold. First, biologists will be provided with analytical models to simulate certain aspects of neural processes on a purely numerical basis. Second, the functionality of biological transmission channels will be explored, the basic principles will be isolated and useful features will be carried over to technical communication systems.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Theoretical Information TechnologyRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Chemosensorik, Institute for Biology IIRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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