Optimal sensors in random environments

Seminar | June 20 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall

 Sarah Marzen, MIT

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

The efficient coding hypothesis has revolutionized theoretical neuroscience. I would argue that it is best understood using rate-distortion theory. I use rate-distortion theory to inspire a simple model of sensory adaptation. In randomly drawn, fluctuating environments, this model suggests that neurogenesis in sensory regions is unnecessary and predicts that biological sensors are poised to just barely confuse “minimal confounds” in the environment.