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Seminars 2019


Friday, January 11, 2019

Dynamical criticality in open systems: non-perturbative physics, microscopic origin and direct observation

Pablo Hurtado

Universidad de Granada


Driven diffusive systems may undergo phase transitions to sustain atypical values of the current. This leads in some cases to symmetry-broken space-time trajectories which enhance the probability of such fluctuations. Here, we shed light on both the macroscopic large deviation properties and the microscopic origin of such spontaneous symmetry breaking in the open weakly asymmetric exclusion process. By studying the joint fluctuations of the current and a collective order parameter, we uncover the full dynamical phase diagram for arbitrary boundary driving, which is reminiscent of a $Z_2$ symmetry-breaking transition. The associated joint large deviation function becomes nonconvex below the critical point, where a Maxwell-like violation of the additivity principle is observed. At the microscopic level, the dynamical phase transition is linked to an emerging degeneracy of the ground state of the microscopic generator, from which the optimal trajectories in the symmetry-broken phase follow. In addition, we observe this symmetry-breaking phenomenon in extensive rare-event simulations, confirming our macroscopic and microscopic results.

The seminar will take place at 13:00 in classroom 2.0.D14 (Edificio Sabatini) Universidad Carlos III


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Frequency-dependent interactions in a computational model of the primate cortex

Jorge Mejías

University of Amsterdam


Cortical areas in the brain are often classified as sensory areas --those receiving input from the external world --or cognitive areas --related with association, memory and more abstract mental processing. It is thought that interactions between these areas in the feedforward (sensory to cognitive) or feedback (cognitive to sensory) direction hold the key to understand attention, expectations and other brain functions. However, the underlying circuit mechanism remains poorly understood and represents a major challenge in neuroscience. We approached this problem using a large-scale computational model of the macaque cortex constrained by novel brain connectivity data. In our model, the interplay between feedforward and feedback signals depends on the fine laminar structure of the cortex, and involves complex dynamics across multiple scales. The model was tested by reproducing a wide range of experimental findings about frequency-dependent interactions between visual cortical areas. Furthermore, the model replicates the existence of a functional hierarchy as reported in recent monkey and human experiments, and suggests a mechanism for the observed dynamics of such hierarchy. Together, this work highlights the necessity of multiscale approaches and provides a modeling platform for studies of large-scale brain circuit dynamics and functions.

The seminar will take place at 11:00 in classroom 2.3D04 (Edificio Sabatini) Universidad Carlos III

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