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NATURE NEUROSCIENCE VOLUME 9 | NUMBER 11 | NOVEMBER 2006 1349 NEWS AND VIEWS
 

Summary: NATURE NEUROSCIENCE VOLUME 9 | NUMBER 11 | NOVEMBER 2006 1349
NEWS AND VIEWS
Noisy neurons can certainly compute
Emilio Salinas
How do neurons combine separate pieces of information that are only partially reliable? Surprisingly, their noise
properties may simplify the underlying computations while allowing them to maintain optimal performance.
Uncertainty is encountered in nearly every
aspect of life. For instance, in a murder trial,
the key problem is determining whether
particular events happened or not, and the
jury must reach a conclusion by weighing
multiple pieces of evidence--testimonies,
physical exhibits, prior histories--each of
which is only partially reliable. However,
the pooling of multiple sources of partially
reliable information is fundamental even for
the simplest perceptual processes: when I'm
trying to find my cat, who often escapes into
the back yard, a slight movement of shadows
and a weak sound of trodden leaves may

  

Source: Andrzejak, Ralph Gregor - Departament de Tecnologia, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Pouget, Alexandre - Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences