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Trinity College Dublin


481: Mathematical Neuroscience

Conor Houghton

Timetable: TBA

This course will follow material in

  • Theoretical Neuroscience by Peter Dayan and LF Abbott.

It is lectured by me, Conor Houghton. It will be examined by a two hour end of year exam.

Course description:

MA3471 is a half course (5 ECTS) with about 30 contact hours made up of lectures and tutorials. It will cover more-or-less the same material that was covered last time it was taught, it was known then as 481.

Mathematical neuroscience, as a whole, is divided into three main areas, one of which relates to the dynamics of neurons themselves, another to networks of neurons and a third to what people in the field call neural encoding and decoding, the study of how stimulus and response are related in neurons.

This course will consider each of areas in turn. It will begin with a general introduction to neuroscience and no prior knowledge of neurobiology will be assumed. Next, the voltage dynamics of neurons will be considered with a description of the Hodkin-Huxley equation and integrate-and-fire models. Spike train statistics will then be considered, along with the neural code, correllation and reverse correllation methods and stochastic properties. These ideas will be illustrated with an introduction to the visual system. Finally, neuronal plasticity and simple network models will be discussed.


My email address is and my office is at the top of the maths department, half way between the discussion room and Donal O'Donavan's office. If you want to contact me anonymously, for example to complain about the course, you can use the feedback facility linked from the sidebar. I also intend to give a one line description of each lecture as I go along; again, this is linked from the side bar.

To do

  • Finish doing course website

Follow @ma3471 on Twitter

The picture is a Leonardo da Vinci sketch for {\sl Madonna of the Rocks} and is at the Birmingham Museum of Art; any copyright has expired and it is in the public domain. The last time I taught this course I used a da Vinci anatomical diagram of the brain as the picture, meaning that this time I had to use either an old anatomical sketch, or another da Vinci. I went first for the former but in the end it was too gruesome. It was taken from the Kaibo Zonshinzu anatomy scrolls, painted in 1819 by Kyoto-area physician Yasukazu Minagaki (1784-1825) and is here