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Price: $90.50

Paperback 588 pp.
5 halftones, 216 line illus., 234 mm x 163 mm



Publication date:
January 2005

Imprint: OUP US

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Biophysics of Computation

Information Processing in Single Neurons

Christof Koch

Series : Computational Neuroscience Series

Neural network research often builds on the fiction that neurons are simple linear threshold units, completely neglecting the highly dynamic and complex nature of synapses, dendrites, and voltage-dependent ionic currents. Biophysics of Computation: Information Processing in Single Neurons challenges this notion, using richly detailed experimental and theoretical findings from cellular biophysics to explain the repertoire of computational functions available to single neurons. The author shows how individual nerve cells can multiply, integrate, or delay synaptic inputs and how information can be encoded in the voltage across the membrane, in the intracellular calcium concentration, or in the timing of individual spikes.
Key topics covered include the linear cable equation; cable theory as applied to passive dendritic trees and dendritic spines; chemical and electrical synapses and how to treat them from a computational point of view; nonlinear interactions of synaptic input in passive and active dendritic trees; the Hodgkin-Huxley model of action potential generation and propagation; phase space analysis; linking stochastic ionic channels to membrane-dependent currents; calcium- and potassium-currents and their role in information processing; the role of diffusion, buffering and binding of calcium, and other messenger systems in information processing and storage; short- and long-term models of synaptic plasticity; simplified models of single cells; stochastic aspects of neuronal firing; the nature of the neuronal code; and unconventional models of sub-cellular computation.
Biophysics of Computation: Information Processing in Single Neurons serves as an ideal text for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in cellular biophysics, computational neuroscience, and neural networks, and will appeal to students and professionals in neuroscience, electrical and computer engineering, and physics.

Readership : This text is designed as an advanced text for members of the neuroscience, electrical and computer engineering, and physics communities.

1. The Membrane Equation
2. Linear Cable Theory
3. Passive Dendritic Trees
4. Synaptic Input
5. Synaptic Interactions in a Passive Dendritic Tree
6. The Hodgkin-Huxley Model of Action-Potential Generation
7. Phase Space Analysis of Neuronal Excitability
8. Ionic Channels
9. Beyond Hodgkin and Huxley: Calcium, and Calcium-Dependent Potassium Currents
10. Linearizing Voltage-Dependent Currents
11. Diffusion, Buffering, and Binding
12. Dendritic Spines
13. Synaptic Plasticity
14. Simplified Models of Individual Neurons
15. Stochastic Models of Single Cells
16. Bursting Cells
17. Input Resistance, Time Constants, and Spike Initiation
18. Synaptic Input to a Passive Tree
19. Voltage-Dependent Events in the Dendritic Tree
20. Unconventional Coupling
21. Computing with Neurons -- A Summary

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Christof Koch is at California Institute of Technology.

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Special Features

  • Richly detailed scientific findings in the area of cellular biophysics are used to explain the computational functions of neurons -- not as simple computational devises, by as individually important sites of information processing.
  • Ionic flux, synapses, membrane potential, and other features of cells' internal structure are shown to encode vital information.