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J Neural Eng. 2012 Aug;9(4):046015. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/9/4/046015. Epub 2012 Jul 12.

Optimal entrainment of neural oscillator ensembles.

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Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering, Washington University, Saint Louis, MO 63130, USA.


In this paper, we derive the minimum-energy periodic control that entrains an ensemble of structurally similar neural oscillators to a desired frequency. The state-space representation of a nominal oscillator is reduced to a phase model by computing its limit cycle and phase response curve, from which the optimal control is derived by using formal averaging and the calculus of variations. We focus on the case of a 1:1 entrainment ratio and suggest a simple numerical method for approximating the optimal controls. The method is applied to asymptotically control the spiking frequency of neural oscillators modeled using the Hodgkin-Huxley equations. Simulations are used to illustrate the optimality of entrainment controls derived using phase models when applied to the original state-space system, which is crucial for using phase models in control synthesis for practical applications. This work addresses a fundamental problem in the field of neural dynamics and provides a theoretical contribution to the optimal frequency control of uncertain oscillating systems.

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