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Learning in the Brain and NeuroRobots - from Molecules to Behaviour
with the EBRAINS Training on the Brain Function, Dysfunction and Neurorobotic Systems

8th Baltic-Nordic Summer School on Neuroscience and Neuroinformatics

 

21–25 September 2021
Virtual Event

 


This summer school was the eighth in the series of the Baltic-Nordic Courses on Neuroinformatics BNNI 2013-2019:
 

1st BNNI 2013 Kaunas, Lithuania 
2nd BNNI 2014 Tampere, Finland 
3rd BNNI 2015 Tartu, Estonia 
4th BNNI 2016 Warsaw, Poland
5th BNNI 2017 Kaunas, Lithuania 
6th BNNI 2018 Ventspils, Latvia 
7th BNNI 2019 Frankfurt, Germany     

 

 

The 8th Baltic-Nordic Summer School on Neuroscience and Neuroinformatics 2021 “Learning in the Brain and NeuroRobots – from Molecules to Behaviour with the EBRAINS Training on the Brain Function, Dysfunction and Neurorobotic Systems” offered interdisciplinary courses and covered modelling at different levels of organization of the brain, from single neurons to microcircuits, neural networks and neurorobotics.

The course offered lectures on the latest achievements in understanding learning, neural and network dynamics and function in health and disease, neurorobotic theory and applications, and hands-on tutorials on the EBRAINS services and tools. The summer school targeted advanced master students, doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers in biomedical and technology sciences, ranging from medicine, biology, psychology, to mathematics, informatics, information technology, physics and chemistry, and anyone who was eager to get an introduction to neuroinformatics, computational neuroscience and the EBRAINS Infrastructure.

 

Sessions:
 

Session 1 “Synapses, neurons and networks” will introduce the motivation behind and basic concepts of theoretical and computational modelling of the neurons, neural networks and brain functions. 

Session 2 “Networks: Functions and Dynamics” will focus on complex dynamics, both at single neuron and population level. The goal of this session is to learn about theoretical methods to study the origin of the dynamical state of biological neural networks, and then to discuss how these insights help in mechanistic understanding of essential brain functions such as working memory. The tools to numerically simulate the activity of biological neural networks will also be discussed.

Session 3 “Learning and Plasticity” will introduce synaptic plasticity, the biological basis of learning and memory.  At the most fundamental level, perception, cognition, learning and memory ultimately depend on complex molecular processes. Modelling of these processes requires simulating phenomena that occur on a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. The goal of this session is to inform and teach students about the modelling of synaptic plasticity and learning. Also, data mining approaches relevant for better understanding of synapses will be exemplified. Some EBRAINS resources providing modeling of synaptic plasticity will be used in the tutorials.

Session 4 “Brain function and dysfunction: models and experiments” will be devoted to the computational perspective on brain disease. It is becoming increasingly clear that the classical approach of relating behavioral deficits to the morphology, genetics or chemistry of the brain is highly simplified. The genetic, chemical, morphological changes manifest in behavioural changes via multi-scale interactions between neurons and networks. Therefore, a number of diseases can be understood as diseases of brain dynamics. In addition, psychiatric diseases are better understood in the computational framework of decision making and reinforcement learning. In this session we will provide a pedagogical lecture on how our understanding of brain dynamics provides a bottom-up view of brain dysfunction such as Parkinson’s diseases, while the decision making, and reinforcement learning provides a top-down framework for understanding psychiatric disorders. 

Session 5 “Artificial systems and embodied brains” will discuss technical applications of neuronal computation. We introduce concepts of neurocognitive systems, give an overview of available neurocomputing hardware and software environments, and introduce closed-loop neuronal control systems. The second part of the day is dedicated to hands-on sessions that allow students (remote) access to simulated neurorobotics and neurocomputing environments. We will prepare a virtual environment, where participating teams can develop neuronal models to train a virtual robot in a competitive task (e.g. collecting items in an arena full of obstacles). We will organize a final competition.


Preliminary Scientific Programme


All times in the programme are CEST = UTC+2

Download the preliminary scientific programme .

 

13.00 – 13.15
Welcome & Introduction 
BNNI 2021 Organizers 

 
 
Session 1 - Synapses, neurons and circuits 
Chair: Marja-Leena Linne | Tampere University

 
13.15 – 13.45
Why to model the brain 
Gaute Einevoll | Oslo University

 
13.45 – 14.45 
Synapses, neurons, circuits: introduction to computational neuroscience
Bruce Graham | University of Stirling

 
14.45 – 15.00 
Coffee break 
 
 
Tutorials: Hands-on NEURON and Python 
 
15.00 – 15.30 
Modeling in NEURON and Python: useful tips 
Arnd Roth | University College London

 
15.30 – 16.30 
Simulating synapses, neurons and circuits 
Bruce Graham | University of Stirling
Arnd Roth | University College London
Ausra Saudargiene | Lithuanian University of Health Sciences 

 
16.30 – 17.00 
Coffee break  
 
 
Tutorials: Hands-on EBRAINS 
 
17.00 – 17.45 
From modeling single neurons to large-scale networks in EBRAINS
Jeanette Hellgren Kotaleski | KTH Stockholm

 
17.45 – 18.30 
Circuit building (theory and practice) 
Johannes Hjorth, Alex Kozlov | KTH Stockholm

 
18.30 – 19.00 
Break
19.00 – 20.00 


Evening Discussions 
Ask anything you ever wanted to know about neuroscience  

Marja-Leena Linne | Tampere University
Gaute Einevoll | Oslo University
Bruce Graham | University of Stirling
Arnd Roth | University College London
Jeanette Hellgren Kotaleski, Johannes Hjorth, Alex Kozlov | KTH Stockholm 

 

20.00 – 21.00 
Virtual Tour in Stockholm, Sweden
Hangout
 
13.00 – 13.15
Introduction Day 2 
 
 
Session 2 - Biological Neuronal Networks: Functions and Dynamics 
Chair: Arvind Kumar | KTH Royal Institute of Technology  

 
13.15 – 14.00 
Dynamics of spiking neuronal networks
Nicolas Brunel | Duke University

 
14.00 – 14.30 
Computational models of working memory    
Pawel Herman | KTH Royal Institute of Technology

 
14.30 – 15.00 
Statistical mechanics of memory in biological neuronal networks
Yasser Roudi | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

 
15.00 – 15.30 
Coffee break
 
 
Tutorial: Hands-on EBRAINS 
 
15.30 – 17.00 
Simulation of network with spiking neurons (NEST) 
Sebastian Spreizer | Forschungszentrum Jülich 

 
17.00 – 17.30 
Coffee break  
 
17.30 – 18.30 
Models of mesoscopic brain activity: The Virtual Brain  
Viktor Jirsa | Aix-Marseille-University

 
18.30 – 18.45 
Coffee break  
 
18.45 – 19.45 


Evening Lecture

Understanding behavior and the brain from the perspective of a dynamical theory of coordination

Scott Kelso | Florida Atlantic University
 

19.45 – 21.00 

 

Understanding the Brain - an evolutionary perspective
Sten Grillner | Karolinska Institutet
 

13.00 – 13.15
Introduction Day 3 
 
 
Session 3 - Synaptic Plasticity and Learning 
Chair: Jeanette Hellgren Kotaleski | KTH Royal Institute of Technology  

 
13.15 – 13.45 
How we learn and forget
Ausra Saudargiene | Lithuanian University of Health Sciences

 
13.45 – 14.15 
Astrocyte-neuron interactions   
Marja-Leena Linne | Tampere University

 
14.15 – 14.45 
Learning in large networks
Abigail Morrison | Forschungszentrum Jülich 

 
14.45 – 15.00 
Coffee break
 
 
Tutorials: Hands-on EBRAINS 
 
15.00 – 16.30 
STEPS simulator 
Andrii Stepaniuk | École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

 
16.30 – 17.00 
Coffee break  
 
 
Tutorials: Hands-on EBRAINS 
 
17.00 – 18.30 
STDP in Nest  
Abigail Morrison’s lab | Forschungszentrum Jülich

 
18.30 – 19.00 
Coffee break  
 
19.00 – 19.30 


Evening Lecture:

The Synaptome Architecture
Seth Grant | University of Edinburgh


 

20.00 – 21.00 


Evening Discussion
Ask anything you ever wanted to know about learning & plasticity


 

Seth Grant | University of Edinburgh
Andrii Stepaniuk | École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
Abigail Morrison | Forschungszentrum Jülich
Marja-Leena Linne | Tampere University
Ausra Saudargiene | Lithuanian University of Health Sciences

 

13.00 – 13.15
Introduction Day 4 
 
 
Session 4 - Brain dysfunction: how modeling can help 
Chair: Arvind Kumar | KTH Royal Institute of Technology  

 
13.15 – 13.45 
Free energy principle and computational models of brain disorders
Yukie Nagai | University of Tokio

 
13.45 – 14.15 
A computational framework to understand psychiatric disorders   
Tobias Hauser | University College London

 
14.15 – 14.45 
Striatal dopamine computations in learning about agency
Michael J. Frank | Brown University 
 
14.45 – 15.00 
Coffee break
 
 
Brain dysfunction: a clinical view, or bottom up modeling 
 
15.00 – 16.30 
Modelling of disease related brain activity with The Virtual Brain

Jan Fousek | Aix-Marseille University
 

16.30 – 17.15 
Excitatory-Inhibitory balance and changes in emergent patterns of circuit activity in brain disorders  

Vikaas Sohal | University of California, San Francisco

17.15 – 17.45
Coffee break 
 
 
 Tutorials: Hands-on EBRAINS
 
17.45 – 18.30 
The role of signaling molecules in synaptic plasticity and relapse to alcohol use  

Kim T ‘Avrama’ Blackwell | George Mason University

18.30 – 19.00 


Coffee break 
 

19.00 – 19.30


Evening Lecture:

Neural Oscillations in Schizophrenia: Circuit Dysfunctions, Development and Biomarker
Peter Uhlhass | University of Glasgow
 

20.00 – 21.00 
Evening Discussion
Ask anything you ever wanted to know about neuroscience

Kim T ‘Avrama’ Blackwell | George Mason University
Michael Frank | Brown University
Peter Uhlhass | University of Glasgow

 
21.00 – 22.00
Brain Quiz
 
13.00 – 13.15
Introduction Day 5
 
 
Session 5 - Artificial systems and embodied brains 
Chair: Pawel Herman | KTH Royal Institute of Technology  

 
13.15 – 13.45 
Neuro-Cognitive Systems
Rainer Goebel | Maastricht University

 
13.45 – 14.15 
Neurocomputing Hardware   
Yulia Sandamirskaya | Intel

 
14.15 – 14.45 
Neuromorphic Technical System
Jörg Conradt | KTH Royal Institute of Technology  

 
14.45 – 15.00 
Coffee break
 
 
Tutorial: Hands-on neurorobotics platform and neurocomputing 
 
15.00 – 15.30 
Hands-on EBRAINS: the Neurorobotics Platform
KTH NCS Neuro Computing Systems Team | KTH Royal Institute of Technology

 
15.30 – 16.30 
Hands-on EBRAINS: the SpiNNaker neurocomputing platform  
KTH NCS Neuro Computing Systems Team | KTH Royal Institute of Technology

 
16.30 – 17.00
Coffee break 
 
 
Hands-On Competition / Neuromorphic Robotics Olympics
 
17.00 – 18.00 
 Train your neuronal network / neurorobot
KTH NCS Neuro Computing Systems Team | KTH Royal Institute of Technology

 
18.00 – 18.30 


Competition
KTH NCS Neuro Computing Systems Team | KTH Royal Institute of Technology

 

18.30 – 19.00


Coffee break 
 

19.00 – 19.45
Evening Lecture
Spaun 2.0: Cognitive Flexibility in a Large-scale Brain Model


Speaker: Chris Eliasmith | University of Waterloo
 
19.45 – 21.00
Evening Discussion
Closing the BNNI summer school, round table debate, feedback

Jeanette Hellgren Kotaleski | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Jörg Conradt | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Pawel Herman | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden 
Erik Fransén | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden

 
21.00
Farewell
 

 

Speakers


Kim T ‘Avrama’ Blackwell | George Mason University, US
Nicolas Brunel | Duke University, NC, US
Jörg Conradt | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Gaute Einevoll | Oslo University, Norway
Jan Fousek | Aix-Marseille University, France
Michael Frank | Brown University, Providence RI, US
Erik Fransén | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Bruce Graham | University of Stirling, UK
Seth Grant | University of Edinburgh, UK 
Rainer Goebel | Maastricht University, The Netherlands
Sten Grillner | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Johannes Hjorth | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Pawel Herman | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Viktor Jirsa | Aix-Marseille University, France
Andrii Stepaniuk | École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
Alex Kozlov | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Arvind Kumar | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Jeanette Hellgren Kotaleski | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Marja-Leena Linne | Tampere University, Finland
Abigail Morrison | Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany
Yukie Nagai | IRCN, Japan
Yasser Roudi | NNTU, Trondheim, Norway
Arnd Roth | University College London, UK
Yulia Sandamirskaya | Intel, München, Germany
Ausra Saudargiene | Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania
Sebastian Spreizer  | Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany
Vikaas Sohal | University of California, San Francisco, USA
Peter Uhlhass | University of Glasgow, UK

 

Scientific Committee


Jeanette Hellgren Kotaleski | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Arvind Kumar | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Jörg Conradt | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Pawel Herman | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Erik Fransén  | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Marja-Leena Linne | Tampere University, Finland
Ausra Saudargiene | Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Lithuania

 

Local Organisers


Jeanette Hellgren Kotaleski | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Jörg Conradt | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Pawel Herman | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Erik Fransén | KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden

 

Co-organisers
 

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