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Journal Articles Journal of Physiology - Paris Year : 2010

Overview of facts and issues about neural coding by spikes


In the present overview, our wish is to demystify some aspects of coding with spike-timing, through a simple review of well-understood technical facts regarding spike coding. Our goal is a better understanding of the extent to which computing and modeling with spiking neuron networks might be biologically plausible and computationally efficient. We intentionally restrict ourselves to a deterministic implementation of spiking neuron networks and we consider that the dynamics of a network is defined by a non-stochastic mapping. By staying in this rather simple framework, we are able to propose results, formula and concrete numerical values, on several topics: (i) general time constraints, (ii) links between continuous signals and spike trains, (iii) spiking neuron networks parameter adjustment. Beside an argued review of several facts and issues about neural coding by spikes, we propose new results, such as a numerical evaluation of the most critical temporal variables that schedule the progress of realistic spike trains. When implementing spiking neuron networks, for biological simulation or computational purpose, it is important to take into account the indisputable facts here unfolded. This precaution could prevent one from implementing mechanisms that would be meaningless relative to obvious time constraints, or from artificially introducing spikes when continuous calculations would be sufficient and more simple. It is also pointed out that implementing a large-scale spiking neuron network is finally a simple task.

Dates and versions

inria-00407915 , version 1 (27-07-2009)



Bruno Cessac, Hélène Paugam-Moisy, Thierry Viéville. Overview of facts and issues about neural coding by spikes. Journal of Physiology - Paris, 2010, 104 (1-2), pp.5-18. ⟨10.1016/j.jphysparis.2009.11.002⟩. ⟨inria-00407915⟩
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