Information is processed in the neocortex by extremely complex but surprisingly stereotypic circuits of neurons. The goal of this project is to understand the organization of computation and learning in neural microcircuits, which form the lowest level of circuit organization in the cortex. This research will be carried out through theoretical analysis and computer simulation, which take the most recent biological data into account. A unique aspect of this project is the close collaboration of computer scientists and neuroscientists. The team of Prof. Maass at the Institute for Theoretical Computer Science (TU Graz) will collaborate with the team of the neuroscientist Prof. Markram from the Weizmann Institute in Israel, who is one of the leading experts for the experimental investigation of neural microcircuits in the neocortex. The project builds on results from a preceding FWF-project, that had focused on the components of neural circuits: spiking neurons and dynamic synapses.
It is expected that the understanding of the organization of information processing in neural circuits will also provide new ideas for the design of novel artificial computing machinery ("neuromorphic engineering"). In this project computer models of neural microcircuits will be used to explore new methods for training a robot to respond in real-time to rapidly changing input.