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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
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
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.