Description: How does the brain work? Understanding the brain requires sophisticated theories to make sense of the collective actions of billions of neurons and trillions of synapses. Word theories are not enough; we need mathematical theories. The goal of this course is to provide an introduction to the mathematical theories of learning and computation by neural systems. These theories use concepts from dynamical systems (attractors, oscillations, chaos) and concepts from statistics (information, uncertainty, inference) to relate the dynamics and functions of neural networks. We will apply these theories to sensory computation, learning and memory, and motor control. Students will learn to formalize and mathematically answer questions about neural computations, including “what does a network compute?”, “how does it compute?”, and “why does it compute that way?”
Prerequisites: knowledge of calculus, linear algebra, and probability and statistics. Cross-list: ELEC 489, CAAM 416, ELEC 589.