Computational Maps in the Visual Cortex
Active from 1987 - 2009
Computational Maps in the Visual Cortex is a recent book by Miikkulainen, Bednar, Choe, and Sirosh, published by Springer in 2005. Here is the website for the book, which includes the table of contents, sample chapter, figures, references, demos, presentations, and software. Here is also the Springer website for the book.

From the back cover:

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 summarises 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 10^9 bits of genetic information are able to determine the arrangement of 10^14 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. The 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. Together with the software package Topographica, it 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 Informatics 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.

The computational models discussed in this book were built using Topographica, a general simulator for computational modeling of cortical maps, and intended to serve as a common software tool for the general research community.

James A. Bednar Postdoctoral Alumni jbednar [at] inf ed ac uk
Yoonsuck Choe Ph.D. Alumni choe [at] tamu edu
Risto Miikkulainen Faculty risto [at] cs utexas edu
Joseph Sirosh Ph.D. Alumni joseph sirosh [at] gmail com