Alyson Fletcher
EECS, UC Berkeley

Generalized Approximate Message Passing for Neural Receptive Field Estimation and Connectivity

Wednesday 08th of June 2011 at 12:00pm
508-20 Evans

Fundamental to understanding sensory encoding and connectivity of neurons are effective tools for developing and validating complex mathematical models from experimental data. In this talk, I present a graphical models approach to the problems of neural connectivity reconstruction under multi-neuron excitation and to receptive field estimation of sensory neurons in response to stimuli. I describe a new class of Generalized Approximate Message Passing (GAMP) algorithms for a general class of inference problems on graphical models based Gaussian approximations of loopy belief propagation. The GAMP framework is extremely general, provides a systematic procedure for incorporating a rich class of nonlinearities, and is computationally tractable with large amounts of data. In addition, for both the connectivity reconstruction and parameter estimation problems, I show that GAMP-based estimation can naturally incorporate sparsity constraints in the model that arise from the fact that only a small fraction of the potential inputs have any influence on the output of a particular neuron. A simulation of reconstruction of cortical neural mapping under multi-neuron excitation shows that GAMP offers improvement over previous compressed sensing methods. The GAMP method is also validated on estimation of linear nonlinear Poisson (LNP) cascade models for neural responses of salamander retinal ganglion cells.

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