Friday, March 23, 2018
Physics Building, Room 204
William Bialek , Princeton University
[Host: Marija Vucelja]
Thoughts, memories, percepts, and actions all result from the interactions among large numbers of neurons. Physicists have long hoped that these emergent behaviors could be described using ideas from statistical mechanics. Recent experimental developments have made it possible to monitor, simultaneously, the electrical activity in hundreds or even thousands of cells. I will describe surprisingly simple statistical physics models that provide a detailed, quantitative account of these data, and then turn to renormalization group ideas that allow us to search explicitly for some underlying simplicity. There are signs that real networks are described by non-trivial fixed points, setting the stage for more ambitious theorizing.
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