Joint mini-away-day Neural Computation / Mathematical Biology

14:30 to 16:30 on Friday 30 October at zoom 991 7487 4920

14:30 – opening remarks
14:40 – Cian O’Donnell – Modelling the Rules of Synaptic Plasticity
15:00 – Lucia Marruci and Martin Homer – This is Mathematical Biology.
15:20 – break out room discussions
15:35 – discussion of the break out room discussion
15:45 – Gaurav Malhotra – What do Adversarial Images Tell us about Human Vision?
16:05 – Sophie Landon, Elisa Pedone and Davide Salzano – short talks about Mathematical Biology
16:25 – closing remarks
16:30 – end




Autumn 2020

Most meetings on Fridays at 3pm at zoom 991 7487 4920

2 October Chloe / Naomi

9 October Journal Club: the NumPy paper – Conor

16 October we will watch and discuss Paul Cisek’s learning salon talk.

23 October Stefan Frank (Radboud U. Nijmegen) “Neural language models and human reading behaviour”

30 October Join mini-away-day with the mathematical biology group:

6 November Casimie Ludwig “Temporal Control in Modelling Eye Fixations”

13 November Matt Suderman / Paul Yousefi “DNA methylation predictors: applications, statistical considerations, and new directions”

20 November learning salon talk by Melanie Mitchell followed by discussion.

27 November Venkat Ramaswamy (BITS-Pilani, India;
“Axiomatic theory for neural circuit computation”

4 December Kanaka Rajan (Mount Sinai, New York;

11 December Cristina Savin (New York University;
“Task-specific routing of information in neural circuits via structured noise”

Spring 2019

CNU lab meetings are usually at 3pm on Fridays. See also our new list highlighting CNU seminars and other computational neuroscience seminars across the university. More info on

1 February – SNOW!

8  February – Marie Tolkiehn 

“Neural ensemble activity depends on stimulus type in mouse primary visual cortex”

2.59 MVB
Already in the 1950s it was discovered that moving bars at different orientations elicited responses of varying strength in primary visual cortex. This led to the discovery of orientation-selective neurons (Hubel and Wiesel 1959) and much research into edge detection. However, neural ensemble activity differs between stimulus types: Artificial stimuli such as moving bars or gratings induce responses different from spontaneous activity (no stimulation) or evoked by natural scenes. We found spontaneous and natural scenes-evoked activities indicated lower firing rates, Shannon entropies, and binary word distribution divergences (Jensen-Shannon-Divergence) than either to drifting gratings.

15 February – Cian

journal club talk on

Fundamental bounds on learning performance in neural circuits

Dhruva V Raman, Timothy O’Leary

22 February – Conor

journal club talk on

Mikolov, Tomas, et al. “Efficient estimation of word representations in vector space.arXiv preprint arXiv:1301.3781 (2013).

1 March – Alastair Craw (Bath)

A novel prism-glasses based treatment for CFS.

Date TBA – Joint meeting with Collective Dynamics

15 March – Jack Mellor (PPN)

A new model for neuromodulation: Integrated encoding of expectation.

Neuromodulator systems provide the principle signals to achieve rapid behaviourally-relevant adaptations in brain function. However, our understanding of their mechanism of action is hampered by current models of the different neuromodulator systems as segregated signalling modalities. In this talk I will propose a new model for neuromodulation where distinct but functionally overlapping neuromodulator systems combine and interact to signal different aspects of predictions, prediction errors and uncertainty, i.e. expectation. I will describe how we might test these models by measuring where and when neuromodulation by dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline and acetylcholine occurs in prefrontal cortex during a behavioural task in mice designed to manipulate the type and degree of uncertainty.

22 March – Milton Montero (Journal club)

Task representations in neural networks trained to perform many cognitive tasks, Guangyu Robert Yang, Madhura R. Joglekar, H. Francis Song, William T. Newsome & Xiao-Jing Wan

29 March – no meeting

5 April – Jeff Mitchell (EP)

Extrapolation in Deep-Learning

Historically, criticism of neural or connectionist models of cognition has often used symbolic architectures as a contrast to highlight shortcomings, with systematicity and productivity being two characteristics that are frequently asserted to be lacking in the former but not the latter. Recently, Marcus re-opened this dialogue with a  widely discussed essay that criticised deep learning from a symbolic perspective on a number of fronts. This talk will focus on the issue of extrapolation and Marcus’s identity learning challenge, dating back to 1998.

While the ability to successfully make novel predictions outside the original domain is usually considered a critical test of scientific models and theories, the standard machine learning methodology focuses almost exclusively on within domain testing. Extrapolating outside the training data may require different approaches, in particular architectures that connect distant regions of the input space. I will discuss the role of symmetry in this regard and present a couple of examples.

12 April -. Orlando da Silva.

Orlando is a consultant ophthalmologist with interest in proprioceptive disorders and their treatment through optical means. More about his background can be found on this site

The work has links with neuroscience, psychology and medicine; for example, relating to the recent talk by Dr Alastair Craw, mathematician from the University of Bath, on his experiences with M.E.

19 April – Good Friday

26 April – Roberto Feuda (Palaeobiology and Biodiversity Research Group)

Towards a system-level understanding of the evolution of the nervous system

3 May – no talk

10 May – Anne-Lene Sax (SCEEM/EP, Bristol)

Towards understanding of self-beliefs in the context of depression

17 May – Interviews for new post

24 May – Sean-James Fallon (Bristol) 0.2 MVB

The effect of dopamine and Parkinson’s disease on the control of irrelevant information.

7 June – Thom Griffith / Sophie Baker (Bristol) 5.68 Wills

11 June – CNU seminar: Irene Malvestio (Univ. Pompeu Fabra, Spain)

Venue: 3.33 Wills Memorial Building      Time: 4pm

Detection of directional interactions between single neurons: comparison of methods and application to sleep recordings

11 June – CNU seminar: Marinho Lopes (University of Bristol)

Venue: 3.33 Wills Memorial Building      Time: 11:30am

Mathematical modelling of epilepsy and its applications in epilepsy surgery and epilepsy classification

14 June – Moved to later in the year

Simon Bright (PPN, Bristol)

On Deeplabcut:

21 June – CNU Seminar: Katharina Wilmes (Imperial College London) 4.01 MVB

Inhibitory microcircuits for top-down plasticity of sensory representations

28 June – Paul Dodson (PPN, Bristol) 4.01 MVB

A Mötley Crüe: Heterogeneity in the encoding of behaviour by dopamine neurons

5 July – Daniel Bennett (SCEEM, Bristol) – TBC 4.01 MVB

July – September – summer hiatus


Venue schedule:

2.59 MVB: 1st Feb / 8th Feb / 15th Feb / 22nd Feb / 1st March / 8th March

4.01 MVB: 15th March / 22nd March / 29th March

2.59 MVB: 5th April / 12th April / 19th April / 26th April / 3rd May

0.3 MVB: 10th May


Winter 2018

14 September – Cian

21 September – Mark Humphries   

28 September – Rui 

5 October- Raymond 

 12 October – Beatriz 

 19 October – Karoline Weisner 

 26 October – Carl Henrik Ek 

 9 November – Amelia 

 16 November – Chloe S 


23 November Charlie Williams (30 mins) 


30 November Nathan 


7 December Thilo Gross – Thilo has cancelled Perla Jazmin Mayo Diaz de Leon 


14 December –