**BioNB 420-03 Introduction to Neural Networks and Computational
Neuroscience**

Tuesday, 12:20-2:15, Mudd Hall A305

Christiane Linster

Dept. of Neurobiology and Behavior

W245 Mudd Hall

Ithaca, NY 14853

Phone: 254 4331

email: cl243@cornell.edu

www.nbb.cornell.edu/neurobiology/linster/

Office: W249 Mudd Hall

Office hours: Email to make appointment

**Course description**

The course emphasizes neural network theory for the study of brain function. The course will cover both abstract, higher level models using neural network algorithms like associative memory models and backpropagation and computational neuroscience models of neuron and network function.

During the first part of the course, we will cover the basic theory of neural networks, and look into details of a few neural network algorithms. This part will consist of lectures, followed by discussions. During the second part of the course, models of brain function will be illustrated mainly with models of hippocampal function. This part will consist of presentations by the students and discussions of the readings; class participation will be important.

Book: James A. Anderson, An Introduction to Neural Networks, MIT Press

*Course logistics: All homework and paper correspondence will be
done via email. Make sure you let me know if that is not an option for
you!*

**Handouts and readings**

You can get the handouts for the lectures from the webpage (www.nbb.cornell.edu/neurobio/linster/notes.html) a day or two before each lecture. Handouts that accompany the readings will be distributed with the readings during lecture (also at www.nbb.cornell.edu/neurobio/linster/handouts.html). Copies of the optional readings will be placed on the table outside my office for copying (please take one, copy and bring back!).

**Course Deadlines**

October 16: Mid-term paper due (email to cl243@cornell.edu
by NOON)

Oct. 23: Outline of final paper due (email to cl243@cornell.edu
by NOON)

Oct 24: Short presentation of final paper outline in
class (bring 2 copies of the papers you will discuss to class!)

Nov. 10: First version of final paper due (email to cl243@cornell.edu
AND to your peer reviewer by NOON)

Nov 20: Peer reviews due (email to cl243@cornell.edu
AND to author of the paper you reviewed by NOON)

Nov. 28: Second version of final paper due (email to
cl243@cornell.edu
by NOON)

**The course will include:**

1) Homework

2) Mid-term paper

3) Outline of the final paper

4) Peer review of final paper

5) Final paper

**1) Homework**

Homework will consist of questions on the readings. Homework assignments will be handed out during class or distributed via email; the homework has to be sent to the instructor via email by the Monday 12 noon before the next lecture at 12 noon. Homework will not be graded other than "complete" or "incomplete". Late homework will not be considered. Homework can also be found at www.nbb.cornell.edu/neurobio/linster/homework.html

**2) Mid-term paper**

The mid-term paper will consist of a short 1-2 page discussion
of a reading chosen by the instructor. All students will write their mid-term
paper on the same subject.

The goal of this discussion is to show how the neural
network techniques used in your assigned publication relate to the topics
we covered in class. For example: What are the simplifications made about
neurons and synapses? How do the elements of the learning rule relate to
"long term potentiation". What elements of the neural network have not
been covered in class and what questions do you have about them? What seems
to be the goal of the publication and has it been achieved?

**3-5) Final paper**

The writing of the final paper will be done in three stages:
**(1)**
you choose a topic of your own interest and find two neural network./modeling
papers dealing with that topic. You then write a short,
__1 page__,
outline of the topic of your final paper and list the papers that you will
discuss. The day that the outline is due, you present your topic and the
papers you have chosen to the class (__2 minutes !!!__).
**(2)**
You then proceed to write your paper (see page on Final Paper and Peer
Reviews for details).** (3)** The paper will be read by the instructor
and by one of your peers, who will comment on it (see page on Final Paper
and Peer Reviews for details). **(4)** You then make changes and corrections
to your paper taking into account the comments of your peer and of the
instructor (called the reviewers). You will also write a short "answer
to the reviewers comments" which explains how you took into account the
comments or why you chose to not consider them. The final grade for your
paper will take into consideration the paper itself, but also how carefully
you dealt with the comments from the reviews.

**Grading**

1) Homework and Class participation 25%

2) Mid-term paper 20%

3) Final paper outline December 7 10%

4) Peer review 15%

5) Final paper 30%