SMS scnews item created by Georg Gottwald at Thu 7 Jun 2007 1216
Type: Seminar
Distribution: World
Expiry: 18 Jun 2007
Calendar1: 18 Jun 2007 1515-1600
CalLoc1: Slade Lecture Theatre, Ground Floor, School of Physics
Auth: gottwald@p6363.pc.maths.usyd.edu.au

COSNet DISTINGUISHED VISITOR SEMINAR : Tony Bell -- Towards a Theory of Learning and Levels for Biology

 SCHOOL OF PHYSICS COLLOQUIUM and COSNet DISTINGUISHED VISITOR SEMINAR 

 www.physics.usyd.edu.au/local/coll 

 Monday 18th June, 2007 at 3:15 pm 

 refreshments from 3pm 

Venue: Slade Lecture Theatre, Ground Floor, School of Physics 

Title: Towards a Theory of Learning and Levels for Biology 

Presenter: Prof.  Tony Bell University of California at Berkeley 

Abstract: 

Learning, plasticity, adaptivity: these occur at the ecological, behavioural, neural and
molecular levels amongst others.  Yet each level is just a different description of the
the same processes.  Defined structural relations exist between the levels (networks
within networks), and these define causal relations in time.  I will describe how these
causal relations are essentially inter-level in nature, consisting of downward ’boundary
conditions’ and upward ’emergence’.  Using them, information can travel from the top to
the bottom of the reductionist hierarchy and vice-versa.  This opens the possibility of
defining new kinds of learning algorithm which exploit inter-level mappings for
representational purposes.  As examples, I will consider Spike Timing-Dependent synaptic
Plasticity (STDP), and equations describing channel and enzyme kinetics.  I will also
present much review material on the nature of the biological material hierarchy and
compare it to the scale-free systems successfully studied in physics by the
renormalisation group theory.  


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