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Internally generated network dynamics: experiment and theory


Many brain functions rely upon coordinated activity in neural circuits and even across multiple brain areas. Yet, how neurons and brain areas communicate and interact to represent sensory input, perform computations, and guide behaviour remains poorly understood. Recent advances in experimental tools allow monitoring and manipulation of neural activity at large scale and with an unprecedented level of detail in animals performing complex behaviors. One
of the major challenges in computational neuroscience is to unravel the dynamical computations performed by neural circuits manifested in the emergent collective dynamics.

The workshop seeks to bring together experimental and computational work to discuss recent advances and to promote interaction between the two fields. Specifically, the workshop will focus on (1) experimental work combining large scale recordings and optogenetic perturbations to investigate internally-generated activity patterns, (2) data-driven computational models of low-dimensional neural dynamics, and (3) biologically-grounded models. We will discuss the utility and the challenges of the modern approaches to internal dynamics associated with motor-related and memory-related processes assessed using large scale neural population activity or field potential recordings. What are the biological insights that can be gained from data-driven models? How can the dynamics of a network-based model be compared to recorded brain activity? And how can we apply perturbations to uncover properties of the internal neural dynamics? These are some of the questions that we aim to address during the workshop.