The synapse is often considered to be the basic unit of computation in the brain given its highly nonlinear properties. Last year two decades of exciting molecular and cellular neuroscience on the synapse were acknowledged with the award of the Nobel prize to three pioneers in the field, Rothman, Schekman and Südhof. Despite all insights at the molecular and cellular level, the synapse remains enigmatic when it comes to its role in shaping the computational properties of neuronal networks. With the rapid advancement of computer simulation capacity and initiatives like the Human Brain Project there is a growing need for accurate models of synaptic computation to facilitate more realistic neural network simulations. This will not only results in a better understanding of how the brain processes information, and how certain gene defects in the synapse lead to brain diseases, but may also serve as a source of inspiration for new strategies in artificial intelligence and cognitive computing.
In this workshop 4 speakers will present the latest insights (published and unpublished work) in the processes that underpin both short- and long-term synaptic plasticity, using detailed (stochastic) models for the presynaptic terminal and the postsynaptic site, and the impact of both forms of synaptic plasticity on network behavior, using network models.
Session: Wednesday, August 27th 10:20-12:10
Chair: L. Niels Cornelisse
Erik De Schutter - Importance of stochasticity and small molecule number in the induction of synaptic plasticity
Bert Kappen - Emerging phenomena in neural networks with dynamic synapses and their computational implications
Alexander Walter - A catalytic slot model for exocytosis with a single release sensor effectively explains Ca2+-dependent properties of neurosecretion