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Freiburg - Cambridge

German - US-American Collaboration in Computational Neuroscience

"Integration of bottom-up and top-down signals in visual recognition"

Recognizing visual patterns is central to most everyday tasks. Yet, the neuronal circuits that orchestrate visual object recognition remain only poorly understood. Even the best computational models available today only provide a coarse approximation to the complex neurophysiological responses found in higher visual cortex. It is therefore not surprising that a three-year-old can outperform sophisticated computational algorithms in recognition tasks such as navigation in complex environments or recognizing objects in cluttered scenes. The architecture of visual cortex involves feed-forward projections that carry bottom-up signals as well as massive backprojections that carry top-down signals. While it has long been recognized that both types of signals play a key role in visual recognition, the relative contribution of these signals remains unclear. This project aims to investigate the dynamical integration of bottom-up and top-down signals by combining computational models and machine learning techniques for data analysis with high-resolution neurophysiological recordings from the human temporal lobe. It capitalizes on the strengths of both groups to synergistically combine neurophysiological work (focused in Germany) and computational work (focused in the US). Research efforts are complemented with educational and outreach initiatives aimed at training interdisciplinary scientists and engineers who can learn from the architecture and function of neuronal circuits and translate this knowledge to tackle real-world engineering/computational challenges.


The following scientists take part in this collaboration:

  • Gabriel Kreiman, Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Cambridge, USA
  • Andreas Schulze-Bonhage, Epilepsy Center of the University Medical Center Freiburg


German Coordinator:

Prof. Dr. Andreas Schulze-Bonhage
Head of the Epilepsy Center
University Medical Center Freiburg
Breisacher Str. 64
79106 Freiburg

Phone: +49 (0) 761 / 270-5366
Fax: +49 (0) 761 / 270-5003