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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2014 Apr;25:134-9. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2014.01.004. Epub 2014 Jan 25.

To spike, or when to spike?

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Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hermann-Rein-Str. 3, 37075 Göttingen, Germany. Electronic address:


Recent experimental reports have suggested that cortical networks can operate in regimes were sensory information is encoded by relatively small populations of spikes and their precise relative timing. Combined with the discovery of spike timing dependent plasticity, these findings have sparked growing interest in the capabilities of neurons to encode and decode spike timing based neural representations. To address these questions, a novel family of methodologically diverse supervised learning algorithms for spiking neuron models has been developed. These models have demonstrated the high capacity of simple neural architectures to operate also beyond the regime of the well established independent rate codes and to utilize theoretical advantages of spike timing as an additional coding dimension.

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