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Front Neurosci. 2015 May 29;9:192. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2015.00192. eCollection 2015.

Optimal entrainment of heterogeneous noisy neurons.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA, USA.
Graduate Program in Neuroscience, University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN, USA.
Graduate Program in Neuroscience, University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN, USA ; Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN, USA.


We develop a methodology to design a stimulus optimized to entrain nonlinear, noisy limit cycle oscillators with uncertain properties. Conditions are derived which guarantee that the stimulus will entrain the oscillators despite these uncertainties. Using these conditions, we develop an energy optimal control strategy to design an efficient entraining stimulus and apply it to numerical models of noisy phase oscillators and to in vitro hippocampal neurons. In both instances, the optimal stimuli outperform other similar but suboptimal entraining stimuli. Because this control strategy explicitly accounts for both noise and inherent uncertainty of model parameters, it could have experimental relevance to neural circuits where robust spike timing plays an important role.


entrainment; noisy neurons; noisy oscillators; optimal control theory; uncertainty

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