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'Giant' Neuron Regulates 50,000 Other Neurons 81

Scottingham sends this quote from PhysOrg: "A single interneuron controls activity adaptively in 50,000 neurons, enabling consistently sparse codes for odors (abstract). The brain is a coding machine: it translates physical inputs from the world into visual, olfactory, auditory, tactile perceptions via the mysterious language of its nerve cells and the networks which they form. Neural codes could in principle take many forms, but in regions forming bottlenecks for information flow (e.g., the optic nerve) or in areas important for memory, sparse codes are highly desirable. ... This single giant interneuron tracks in real time the activity of several tens of thousands of neurons in an olfactory centre and feeds inhibition back onto all of them, so as to maintain their collective output within an appropriately sparse regime. In this way, representation sparseness remains steady as input intensity or complexity varies."
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'Giant' Neuron Regulates 50,000 Other Neurons

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  • by Mindcontrolled ( 1388007 ) on Friday May 13, 2011 @06:10PM (#36122730)
    Hm. From what I remember regarding current theory - and that is a decade ago - complexity is not even the question. I wouldn't outright qualify us as overcomplex deadend. You have to envision the whole process as a massively dynamic system. There is no best, there is no dead end - there is only temporary optimization towards local optima in the fitness landscape. At the moment, we seem to pretty much PWN one of those local optima, while at the same time eroding the boundary conditions that makes it optimal...

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas