Computational Maps in the Visual Cortex
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For more than 30 years, the visual cortex has been the source of new computational ideas about how the brain processes information. The visual cortex is easily accessible through a variety of recording and imaging techniques and allows mapping high-level behavior directly to neural mechanisms. Understanding the computations in the visual cortex is therefore an important step toward a general computational theory of the brain.

From the preface, by Christoph von der Malsburg:

"Computational Maps in the Visual Cortex is highly relevant to the goal of understanding organization. It summarizes and integrates an important body of work, accumulated over decades, aimed at describing and understanding the organization of the vertebrate visual system. The riddle of how less than 109 bits of genetic information are able to determine the arrangement of 1014 synaptic connections in ontogenesis is resolved by the demonstration that a relatively simple, genetically determined and controlled repertoire of cellular behavior is sufficient to understand the ontogenesis of regular connection patterns. This book employs the tool of computer simulation to show the validity of the principles that have emerged, to teach them, to develop them further and prepare them for application to novel cases.

It is my impression that the time is ripe for a major attack on the general problem of organization. Molecular biology and information technology are both hitting a serious complexity barrier. This can only be overcome by a shift of attention from the details of large systems to their organizing principles. Science can only conquer this domain with the help of insight gained on paradigmatic cases. The organization of visual cortex in perinatal ontogenesis may prove decisive in this role."

Computational Maps in the Visual Cortex presents a unified computational approach to understanding the structure, development, and function of the visual cortex. It reviews the current theories of the visual cortex and the biological data on which they are based, and presents a detailed analysis of the laterally connected self-organizing map model and results obtained to date. It therefore serves as a comprehensive foundation for future research in computational neuroscience of the visual cortex.

Risto Miikkulainen is a Professor at the Department of Computer Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, James A. Bednar is a Lecturer at the School of In formatics at the University of Edinburgh, Yoonsuck Choe is an Assistant Professor at the Computer Science Department at Texas A&M University, and Joseph Sirosh is Vice President for Advanced Technology at Fair Isaac, Inc.