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Kavli Communications Hub

Kavli Communications Hub

The Dimensionality Reduction and Population Dynamics in Neural Data conference were held at Nordita in Stockholm 11-14 February 2020. Most parts of the conference were recorded (see links below).

About the conference

The brain represents and processes information through the activity of many neurons whose firing patterns are correlated with each other in non-trivial ways. These correlations, in general, imply that the activity of a population of neurons involved in a task has a lower dimensional representation. Naturally, then, discovering and understanding such representations are important steps in understanding the operations of the nervous system, and theoretical and experimental neuroscientists have been making interesting progress on this subject. The aim of this conference is to gather together a number of key players in the effort for developing methods for dimensionality reduction in neural data and studying the population dynamics of networks of neurons from this angle. We aim to review the current approaches to the problem, identify the major questions that need to be addressed in the future, and discuss how we should move forward with those questions.

See recordings from the conference here:

Conference in Stockholm playlist

Tuesday 11/02/2020

Sara Solla (Northwestern University) Neural manifolds for the stable control of movement

Matteo Marsili (ICTP) Multiscale relevance and informative encoding in neuronal spike trains 

Jonathan Pillow (Princeton University) Identifying latent manifold structure from neural data with Gaussian process models

Srdjan Ostojic (ENS) Disentangling the roles of dimensionality and cell classes in neural computations (Lecture not recorded)

Wednesday 12/02/2020

Taro Toyoizumi (Riken) A local synaptic update rule for ICA and dimensionality reduction

Soledad Gonzalo Cogno (Kavli Institute, NTNU) Stereotyped population dynamics in the medial entorhinal cortex (Lecture not recorded)

Maneesh Sahani (Gatsby Unit, UCL) Merging E/I balance and low-dimensional dynamics to understand robustness to optogenetic stimulation in motor cortex

Tatiana Engel (CSHL) Discovering interpretable models of neural population dynamics from data

Thursday 13/02/2020

Benjamin Dunn (Math Department, NTNU) TBA (Lecture not recorded)

Sophie Deneve (ENS) TBA (Lecture not recorded)

Arvind Kumar (KTH) Low dimensional manifolds and temporal sequences of neuronal activity in the neocortex

Barbara Feulner (Imperial College London) Learning within and outside of the neural manifold

Friday 14/02

Mark Humphries (University of Nottingham) Strong and weak principles for neural dimension reduction

Alfonso Renart (Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown) Brain-state modulation of population dynamics and behavior

Devika Narain (Erasmus University Medical Center) Bayesian time perception through latent cortical dynamics

Kenneth Harris (UCL) Nneurons 

Selected media

Selected media

The scientists at the Kavli Institute take part in various activities for communicating science to the public. The tools of the trade for communicating within the science community, like peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, are not good sources of knowledge for the public. Rather it’s through popular media, like online video platforms, television, social media, radio, podcasts, newspapers and magazines, as well as popularized talks and debates taking place in the public, that the majority of citizens gain knowledge and advice about science. 

Popular science communication demands a translation of both complexity, language and dissemination form, without compromising central scientific aspects. By explaining scientific relationships in a straight-forward language and contextualizing scientific facts within issues of public interest and concern, our scientists aim at not only translating information and facts into publicly accessible knowledge and understanding, but also at providing a vocabulary that allows the broader public to engage in and join discourses about local and global issues that involve both risks and benefits, and in which every citizen is a stakeholder. 

These insights represent the fundament for the institute's public outreach activities and science communication plan.

Starmus represents an innovative approach to boosting public understanding of science, inviting citizens to engage with and participate in scientific discourses, by bringing together the very best of science and art into a weeklong popular science dissemination festival. The festival is pulling thousands of visitors, and is covered by major media houses across the world.

In 2016 Edvard Moser participated in the Starmus festival III held in Tenerife, with a popular science lecture on grid cells. Edvard and May-Britt Moser have since been instrumental in bringing the Starmus initiative to Trondheim (2017).

Starmus 2016


"The Grand Narrative" is an animated story about how we find our way in the environment, and why navigation is essential for life.

See the animation "The Grand Narrative"The Grand Narrative

A-mazing race

A-mazing race

Screenshot form the online game Amazing RaceWould you like to be a lab rat? Try our fun online game "the A-Mazing-Race", and let the nerve cells lead you to the cheese!