The visual cortex as a window into the brain and the world of large dynamical systems

Lai-Sang Young
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences
In the past several years, I have been involved in building a biologically realistic model of the monkey visual cortex. Work on the input layer of the primary visual cortex (V1) is now nearly complete, and I would like to share some of what I have learned with you. The model is a large structured network of small subsystems representing the dynamics of individual neurons. I plan to divide my time between the following two topics: (1) Local circuits, the dynamics of which I will describe in some detail, including an emergent rhythm detected all over the brain, and (2) dynamics across the cortical surface in an input layer of V1. I will discuss nonequilibrium steady states that arise in response to stationary stimuli, and how one might treat nonstationary inputs. This motivates, for general dynamical systems, the need (and some ideas) for going beyond SRB measures.