Research @ CCMG








Motor control of direction: a biologically inspired neural network model

MSc Thesis (pdf, 2.8 Mb)

At a general level, the research presented in this thesis investigates how cognitive functions in the brain emerge from the properties of basic components when these interact and function cooperatively. The specific focus is on two topics: cortical control of movement direction and visuomotor mapping of directional information.
For the visual guidance of movement to be efficiently implemented in artificial systems, it is essential to understand the computational mechanisms underpinning biological motor control. This thesis explores the development of cortical control of movement direction and visuomotor mapping within a biologically inspired computational framework based on spike-processing neural networks. First, the implementation of SpikeNNS simulator is described, followed by the detailed presentation of two neural network models.
Chapter 1 represents an introduction to the field of computational neuroscience and outlines the objectives and the structure of the thesis. Chapter 2 provides a biological and modeling framework of cortical control of motion direction. Chapter 3 introduces a number of new theories on the biological and computational mechanisms of perception-action coupling. Chapter 4 focuses upon the description of the spiking neural model implemented. Chapter 5 presents the implementation of the SpikeNNS simulator. Chapter 6 describes in turn, the model of motor cortex self-organization and that of visuomotor mapping learning. Chapter 7 presents a discussion of the neurophysiological and theoretical implications of the models.
Frontmatter (pdf)
1. Introduction (pdf)
Part I. Neurobiology and models of motor control of direction
2. Control of movement direction (pdf)
3. Visuomotor development (pdf)
Part II. SpikeNNS - a simulator for spiking processing networks
4. Spiking neural model (pdf)
5. Simulator design and implementation (pdf)
Part III. Applications
6. Neural networks architectures and results (pdf)
A. Self-organization of neurons in motor cortex for coding the direction of movement (results)
B. Development of visuomotor alignment of directional neural codes (results)
7. Discussion and future directions (pdf)
References (pdf)

Funded by:

    Basic Research programme of Enterprise Ireland - 1999-2001.
Selected  references