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Walter Senn



Professor & Group Leader @University of Bern



Walter Senn is Full Professor for Computational Neuroscience at the Institute of Physiology, University of Bern, since 2006 and since 2010 Co-Director of the same Institute. He has a PhD in Mathematics and is interested in theoretical models of how cognitive functions such as learning, memory and perception emerge from interacting neurons in the brain.

His research covers mathematical models of neurons, synaptic plasticity, and learning. Based on electrophysiological recordings of neuronal activity in vitro or in vivo he develops models of neurons and networks which explain behavior.

He was pioneering models of spike-timing-dependent synaptic plasticity and its applications. In a series of papers he developed algorithms for reinforcement learning in populations of spiking neurons with delayed reward. He is also involved in building a theory of reward-based leaning in multi-compartment neurons with dendritic nonlinearities.

He currently promotes a neural principle of least action from which basic laws of neuron and synaptic dynamics are derived in a similar way as the law of motion is derived from the least action principle in physics. The theory links cortical microcircuits with artificial intelligence and serves as a basis for designing neuromorphic hardware.

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