## About

51

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October 2011 - present

September 2009 - September 2011

October 2006 - August 2009

## Publications

Publications (51)

Neural population dynamics are often highly coordinated, allowing task-related computations to be understood as neural trajectories through low-dimensional subspaces. How the network connectivity and input structure give rise to such activity can be investigated with the aid of low-rank recurrent neural networks, a recently-developed class of compu...

A large body of work has suggested that neural populations exhibit low-dimensional dynamics during behavior. However, there are a variety of different approaches for modeling low-dimensional neural population activity. One approach involves latent linear dynamical system (LDS) models, in which population activity is described by a projection of low...

Neural computations are currently investigated using two separate approaches: sorting neurons into functional subpopulations or examining the low-dimensional dynamics of collective activity. Whether and how these two aspects interact to shape computations is currently unclear. Using a novel approach to extract computational mechanisms from networks...

Biological brains possess an unparalleled ability to generalize adaptive behavioral responses from only a few examples. How neural processes enable this capacity to extrapolate is a fundamental open question. A prominent but underexplored hypothesis suggests that generalization is facilitated by a low-dimensional organization of collective neural a...

A large body of work has suggested that neural populations exhibit low-dimensional dynamics during behavior. However, there are a variety of different approaches for modeling low-dimensional neural population activity. One approach involves latent linear dynamical system (LDS) models, in which population activity is described by a projection of low...

The ongoing exponential rise in recording capacity calls for new approaches for analysing and interpreting neural data. Effective dimensionality has emerged as an important property of neural activity across populations of neurons, yet different studies rely on different definitions and interpretations of this quantity. Here, we focus on intrinsic...

The current exponential rise in recording capacity calls for new approaches for analysing and interpreting neural data. Effective dimensionality has emerged as a key concept for describing neural activity at the collective level, yet different studies rely on a variety of definitions of it. Here we focus on the complementary notions of intrinsic an...

Across sensory systems, complex spatio-temporal patterns of neural activity arise following the onset (ON) and offset (OFF) of stimuli. While ON responses have been widely studied, the mechanisms generating OFF responses in cortical areas have so far not been fully elucidated. We examine here the hypothesis that OFF responses are single-cell signat...

An emerging paradigm proposes that neural computations can be understood at the level of dynamic systems that govern low-dimensional trajectories of collective neural activity. How the connectivity structure of a network determines the emergent dynamical system, however, remains to be clarified. Here we consider a novel class of models, gaussian-mi...

Across sensory systems, complex spatio-temporal patterns of neural activity arise following the onset (ON) and offset (OFF) of stimuli. While ON responses have been widely studied, the mechanisms generating OFF responses in cortical areas have so far not been fully elucidated. We examine here the hypothesis that OFF responses are single-cell signat...

An emerging paradigm proposes that neural computations can be understood at the level of dynamical systems that govern low-dimensional trajectories of collective neural activity. How the connectivity structure of a network determines the emergent dynamical system however remains to be clarified. Here we consider a novel class of models, Gaussian-mi...

Neural computations are currently investigated using two competing approaches: sorting neurons into functional classes, or examining the low-dimensional dynamics of collective activity. Whether and how these two aspects interact to shape computations is currently unclear. Using a novel approach to extract computational mechanisms from networks trai...

Recurrent neural networks (RNNs) trained on low-dimensional tasks have been widely used to model functional biological networks. However, the solutions found by learning and the effect of initial connectivity are not well understood. Here, we examine RNNs trained using gradient descent on different tasks inspired by the neuroscience literature. We...

Depending on environmental demands, humans can learn and exploit multiple concurrent sets of stimulus-response associations. Mechanisms underlying the learning of such task-sets remain unknown. Here we investigate the hypothesis that task-set learning relies on unsupervised chunking of stimulus-response associations that occur in temporal proximity...

Depending on environmental demands, humans can learn and exploit multiple concurrent sets of stimulus-response associations. Mechanisms underlying the learning of such task-sets remain unknown. Here we investigate the hypothesis that task-set learning relies on unsupervised chunking of stimulus-response associations that occur in temporal proximity...

Depending on environmental demands, humans can learn and exploit multiple concurrent sets of stimulus-response associations. Mechanisms underlying the learning of such task-sets remain unknown. Here we investigate the hypothesis that task-set learning relies on unsupervised chunking of stimulus-response associations that occur in temporal proximity...

Following a stimulus, the neural response typically strongly varies in time and across neurons before settling to a steady-state. While classical population coding theory disregards the temporal dimension, recent works have argued that trajectories of transient activity can be particularly informative about stimulus identity and may form the basis...

A given neural network in the brain is involved in many different tasks. This implies that, when considering a specific task, the network's connectivity contains a component which is related to the task and another component which can be considered random. Understanding the interplay between the structured and random components and their effect on...

The interpretation of neuronal spike train recordings often relies on abstract statistical models that allow for principled parameter estimation and model selection but provide only limited insights into underlying microcircuits. In contrast, mechanistic models are useful to interpret microcircuit dynamics, but are rarely quantitatively matched to...

A given neural network in the brain is involved in many different tasks. This implies that, when considering a specific task, the network's connectivity contains a component which is related to the task and another component which can be considered random. Understanding the interplay between the structured and random components, and their effect on...

Recurrent neural networks have been extensively studied in the context of neuroscience and machine learning due to their ability to implement complex computations. While substantial progress in designing effective learning algorithms has been achieved, a full understanding of trained recurrent networks is still lacking. Specifically, the mechanisms...

Neural activity in awake behaving animals exhibits a vast range of timescales that can be several fold larger than the membrane time constant of individual neurons. Two types of mechanisms have been proposed to explain this conundrum. One possibility is that large timescales are generated by a network mechanism based on positive feedback, but this...

A given neural network in the brain is involved in many different tasks. This implies that, when considering a specific task, the network's connectivity contains a component which is related to the task and another component which can be considered random. Understanding the interplay between the structured and random components, and their effect on...

Following a stimulus, the neural response typically strongly varies in time and across neurons before settling to a steady-state. While classical population coding theory disregards the temporal dimension, recent works have argued that trajectories of transient activity can be particularly informative about stimulus identity and may form the basis...

Recurrent neural networks have been extensively studied in the context of neuroscience and machine learning due to their ability to implement complex computations. While substantial progress in designing effective learning algorithms has been achieved in the last years, a full understanding of trained recurrent networks is still lacking. Specifical...

Large scale recordings of neural activity in behaving animals have established that the transformation of sensory stimuli into motor outputs relies on low-dimensional dynamics at the population level, while individual neurons generally exhibit complex, mixed selectivity. Understanding how low-dimensional computations on mixed, distributed represent...

Oscillatory dynamics are ubiquitous in biological networks. Possible sources of oscillations are well understood in low-dimensional systems but have not been fully explored in high-dimensional networks. Here we study large networks consisting of randomly coupled rate units. We identify a type of bifurcation in which a continuous part of the eigenva...

Recurrent networks of non-linear units display a variety of dynamical regimes depending on the structure of their synaptic connectivity. A particularly remarkable phenomenon is the appearance of strongly fluctuating, chaotic activity in networks of deterministic, but randomly connected rate units. How this type of intrinsically generated fluctuatio...

Key points:
We performed extracellular recording of pairs of interneuron-Purkinje cells in vivo. A single interneuron produces a substantial, short-lasting, inhibition of Purkinje cells. Feed-forward inhibition is associated with characteristic asymmetric cross-correlograms. In vivo, Purkinje cell spikes only depend on the most recent synaptic act...

Neurons in prefrontal cortex (PFC) encode rules, goals, and other abstract information thought to underlie cognitive, emotional, and behavioral flexibility. Here we show that the amygdala, a brain area traditionally thought to mediate emotions, also encodes abstract information that could underlie this flexibility. Monkeys performed a task in which...

The attenuation of neuronal voltage responses to high-frequency current inputs by the membrane capacitance is believed to limit single-cell bandwidth. However, neuronal populations subject to stochastic fluctuations can follow inputs beyond this limit. We investigated this apparent paradox theoretically and experimentally using Purkinje cells in th...

Asynchronous activity in balanced networks of excitatory and inhibitory neurons is believed to constitute the primary medium for the propagation and transformation of information in the neocortex. Here we show that an unstructured, sparsely connected network of model spiking neurons can display two fundamentally different types of asynchronous acti...

Author Summary
Neuronal responses are often characterized by the rate at which action potentials are generated rather than by the timing of individual spikes. Firing-rate descriptions of neural activity are appealing because of their comparative simplicity, but it is important to develop models that faithfully approximate dynamic features arising f...

Often we need to perform tasks in an environment that changes stochastically. In these situations it is important to learn the statistics of sequences of events in order to predict the future and the outcome of our actions. The statistical description of many of these sequences can be reduced to the set of probabilities that a particular event foll...

Interspike interval (ISI) distributions of cortical neurons exhibit a range of different shapes. Wide ISI distributions are believed to stem from a balance of excitatory and inhibitory inputs that leads to a strongly fluctuating total drive. An important question is whether the full range of experimentally observed ISI distributions can be reproduc...

Neurons transform time-varying inputs into action potentials emitted stochastically at a time dependent rate. The mapping from current input to output firing rate is often represented with the help of phenomenological models such as the linear-nonlinear (LN) cascade, in which the output firing rate is estimated by applying to the input successively...

Functional interactions between neurons in vivo are often quantified by cross-correlation functions (CCFs) between their spike trains. It is therefore essential to understand quantitatively how CCFs are shaped by different factors, such as connectivity, synaptic parameters, and background activity. Here, we study the CCF between two neurons using a...

We investigate how synchrony can be generated or induced in networks of electrically coupled integrate-and-fire neurons subject to noisy and heterogeneous inputs. Using analytical tools, we find that in a network under constant external inputs, synchrony can appear via a Hopf bifurcation from the asynchronous state to an oscillatory state. In a hom...

Scaling properties of patterns formed by large contact forces are studied as a function of the applied shear stress, in two-dimensional static packings generated from the force network ensemble. An anisotropic finite-size-scaling analysis shows that the applied shear does not affect the universal scaling properties of these patterns, but simply ind...

We study the response of a two-dimensional hexagonal packing of rigid, frictionless spherical grains due to a vertically downward point force on a single grain at the top layer. We use a statistical approach, where each configuration of the contact forces is equally likely. We show that this problem is equivalent to a correlated q-model. We find th...

Transmission of forces in static granular materials is studied within the framework of the force network ensemble, by numerically evaluating the mechanical response of hexagonal packings of frictionless grains and rectangular packings of frictional grains. In both cases, close to the point of application of the overload, the response is nonlinear a...

Force networks form the skeleton of static granular matter. They are the key factor that determines mechanical properties such as stability, elasticity and sound transmission, which are important for civil engineering and industrial processing. Previous studies have focused on investigations of the global structure of external forces (the boundary...

We study the response of a two-dimensional hexagonal packing of rigid, frictionless spherical grains due to a vertically downward point force on a single grain at the top layer. We use a statistical approach, where each configuration of the contact forces is equally likely. We find that the response is double-peaked, independantly of the details of...

We study the geometry of forces in some simple models for granular stackings. The information contained in geometry is complementary to that in the distribution of forces in a single inter-particle contact, which is more widely studied. We present a method which focuses on the fractal nature of the force network and find good evidence of scale inva...

We study the response of a two-dimensional hexagonal packing of massless, rigid, frictionless spherical grains due to a vertically downward point force on a single grain at the top layer. We use a statistical approach, where each mechanically stable configuration of contact forces is equally likely. We show that this problem is equivalent to a corr...

We analyze a lattice model closely related to the one-dimensional inelastic gas with periodic boundary condition. The one-dimensional inelastic gas tends to form high density clusters of particles with almost the same velocity, separated by regions of low density; plotted as a function of particle indices, the velocities of the gas particles exhibi...

We study the patterns formed by adding N sand grains at a single site in the abelian sandpile model on an infinite square lattice, when in the initial configuration all sites have same height. When this height is 2, stable heights being 0–3, we show that the perturbed region is a square, whose length increases as N for large N. If all lengths are r...

Proefschrift Universiteit van Amsterdam. Met bibliogr., lit. opg. - Met samenvatting in het Nederlands.