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Theoretical Thrills

Spencer Frankeberger, Brad West, Oliver Berger, Cameron Golinsky, Chris Bunyi

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The hosts compete by pitching original ideas for theme park rides and attractions based on that week’s chosen theme. A special guest judge awards a Bronze, Silver, or Gold ticket for three separate categories. MOST CREATIVE MOST PRACTICAL GUEST’S FAVORITE With bragging rights on the line, the hosts will try to pick each other’s ideas apart through “GENTLE” ribbing trying to sway the judge’s favor.
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Learn about quantum mechanics, black holes, dark matter, plasma, particle accelerators, the Large Hadron Collider and other key Theoretical Physics topics. The Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics holds morning sessions consisting of three talks, pitched to explain an area of our research to an audience familiar with physics at about second-year undergraduate level.
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Theoretical Physics Schools (ASC)

The Arnold Sommerfeld Center for Theoretical Physics (ASC)

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Every year the Arnold Sommerfeld Center (ASC) for Theoretical Physics at the LMU in Munich organizes a school for PhD students. It covers topics which are of current interest in theoretical physics and range from more applied fields like condensed matter physics to rather mathematical fields like string theory. Announcements of upcoming schools can be found on the ASC schools webpage and a list of past schools can be found in the archive of the ASC schools.
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Most computational neuroscientists investigate electric dynamics in neurons or neural networks, but there is also computations going on inside neurons. Here the key dynamical variables are concentrations of numerous different molecules, and the signaling is typically done in cascades of chemical reactions, called signaling pathways. Today’s guest i…
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Today’s AI is largely based on supervised learning of neural networks using the backpropagation-of-error synaptic learning rule. This learning rule relies on differentiation of continuous activation functions and is thus not directly applicable to spiking neurons. Today’s guest has developed the algorithm SuperSpike to address the problem. He has a…
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The guys are back in less time than it took the Kingdom Hearts 3 to appear with their very own Kingdom Hearts Land. Will they be able to hit the highs of Disney and Final Fantasy or will they be simply heartless nobodies. Special guest Tristan Littlefield joins the podcast this week. Check us out on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Hosts: Spencer Fr…
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Over the last ten years or so, the MindScope project at the Allen Institute in Seattle has pursued an industrylab-like approach to study the mouse visual cortex in unprecedented detail using electrophysiology, optophysiology, optical imaging and electron microscopy. Together with collaborators at Allen, today’s guest has worked to integrate of thes…
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Today’s guest is a pioneer both in the fields of computational neuroscience and artificial intelligence (AI) and has had a front seat during their development. His many contributions include, for example, the invention of the Boltzmann machine with Ackley and Hinton in the mid 1980s. In this “vintage” episode recorded in late 2019 he describes the …
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Today’s guest has argued that the present dominant way of doing systems neuroscience in mammals (large-scale electric or optical recordings of neural activity combined with data analysis) will be inadequate for understanding how their brain works. Instead, he proposes to focus on the simple roundworm C.elegans with only 302 neurons and try to rever…
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Over the last decade topological analysis has been established as a new tool for analysis of spiking data. Today’s guest has been a pioneer in adapting this mathematical technique for use in our field and explains concepts and example applications. We also also talk about so-called threshold-linear network model, a generalization of Hopfield networ…
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Not all interesting network activity occurs in cortex. Networks in the spinal cord, the long thin tubular structure extending downwards from the neck, is responsible for setting up rhythmic motor activity needed for moving around. How do these so-called central pattern generators work? Today’s guest has, together with colleagues in Copenhagen, deve…
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What's This? What's This? It's that time of year and what better way to celebrate than with a Nightmare Before Christmas! Will the guys pitch their dream attractions to special guest Camille Falciola or will they be left with only nightmares? Learn More about Camille Here! Check us out on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Hosts: Spencer Frankeberger,…
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We know a lot about of how neurons in the primary visual cortex (V1) of mammals respond to visual stimuli. But how does the vast information contained in the spiking of millions of neurons in V1 give rise to our visual percepts? The guest’s theory is that V1 acts as a “saliency detector” directing the gaze to the most important object in the visual…
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Life is crazy! Good thing Howard the Duck is here to make everything right and bring you a new episode of Theoretical Thrills! Comic Book Duck Connoisseur and Theme Park Expert Kevin Brooks joins the guys as this week's special guest and judge. Click Here to Watch the Visual Podcast Check us out on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Hosts: Spencer Fra…
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A key goal of computational neuroscience is to build mathematical models linking single-neuron activity to systems-level activity. The guest has taken some bold steps in this direction by developing and exploring a multi-area model for the macaque visual cortex, and later also a model for the human cortex, using millions of simplified spiking neuro…
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It is widely thought that spikes (action potentials) are the main carrier of information in the brain. But what is the neural code, that is, what aspects of the spike trains carry the information? The detailed temporal structure or maybe only the average firing rate? And is there information in the correlation between spike trains in populations of…
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Starting from the pioneering work of Hodgkin, Huxley and Rall in the 1950s and 60s, we have a well-founded biophysics-based mathematical understanding of how neurons integrate signals from other neurons and generate action potentials. Today’s guest wrote the classic book “Biophysics of Computation” on the subject in 1998. We discuss its contents, w…
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