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PhD position: Analytic and computational models of auditory processing
- To: AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Subject: PhD position: Analytic and computational models of auditory processing
- From: Chris Sumner <Chris@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2006 14:01:31 +0000
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- Delivery-date: Mon Feb 13 09:17:26 2006
- Organization: MRC Institute of Hearing Research
- Reply-to: Chris Sumner <Chris@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Sender: AUDITORY Research in Auditory Perception <AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
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please pass this on to any potential candidates or other interested parties.
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Analytic and computational models of auditory processing
Dr Steve Coombes, School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham.
Dr Chris Sumner, MRC Institute of Hearing Research.
The brain is able to construct a view of the outside world from sound
alone: it lets us listen to music and locate each musician in space;
pick out a bassoon in an orchestra or follow the grand themes of a
symphony; follow one person speaking amidst the cacophony of a room full
of conversations. Yet the brain receives only two one-dimensional
inputs: one from each ear. And even with one ear, we still perceive a
world of discrete, separate sound sources. This project will investigate
with analytical and computational models, the neural processing that
might underlie this remarkable feat of hearing.
The range of possible projects is broad. However, the motivation will be
to bring abstract models of neural systems to real problems in auditory
neuroscience. Analytical analogs will be sought between different modes
of processing in order to describe canonically the neural processing.
For example, what is the functional value of shunting versus subtractive
inhibition in an auditory neuron? Analytical expansions of biophysical
equations can show this. Other problems include how the dynamic
properties of highly artificial networks relate to networks of
biophysically realistic neurons with realistic auditory inputs.
Traditional models of neural processing have been based on the idea that
information is conveyed in neurons by the rate at which they fire.
However, in the auditory system much information is conveyed about sound
by the timing of single spikes. Recently, mathematicians have started to
study the properties of spiking neurons, their dynamics and behaviour in
networks such as oscillations and synchronisation. Another interesting
problem is how, when individual neurons are so non-linear,
representations in the cortex can be quite linear. Analytic studies will
be complemented by simulations to confirm them, or inform when
analytical solutions are not possible.
A suitable candidate will probably have a good first degree in maths,
physics or engineering. Some experience in programming is very
desirable. They should have an interest in applying their quantitative,
analytical skills to scientific questions. They will interact with
neuroscientists, psychologists and mathematicians. There will also be
opportunities for becoming involved in experimental work on hearing.
This will lead to an interdisciplinary PhD with mature skills in
computational neuroscience and mathematics.
This position is funded by a Marie Curie Early Stage Training
Fellowship, as part of the programme for Research Training in
Mathematical Medicine and Biology at the University of Nottingham
(MMBNOTT). Marie-Curie Fellowships are available for this project from 1
September 2006 and 1 June 2007 and are open to non-UK nationals. There
is a monthly living allowance (gross), plus travel allowance, mobility
allowance, career exploratory allowance, all in excess of 30K euros per
year. For full details of the training programme, eligibility
requirements and application procedures please see
www.maths.nottingham.ac.uk/mmbnott. For informal enquires please contact
Chris Sumner (chris@xxxxxxxxxxxxx) or Steve Coombes
Dr. Christian J. Sumner
MRC Institute of Hearing Research
Tel: 0115 922 3431
Fax: 0115 951 8503
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