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    Evolution and Brain Computation

    Difficulty level

    This lesson discusses how to approach neural systems from an evolutionary perspective.

    Topics covered in this lesson
    • Introduction: overview of the timeline of evolution.
    • Origins of the brain's molecular machinery.
    • Mechanistic implementation of basic building blocks in ancestors.
    • Functional convergence.
    • Biofilm communication in bacteria vs building blocks of the action potential.
    • Cross-species comparison of likely parallel evolution of mechanisms and phenomena: looming, STDP, circuit computation, oscillatory dynamics, transient neural dynamics.
    • The value of diverse model systems.
    • Physical constraints and neural solutions: sound localization, with owls as a model organism.
    • Role of distance and time difference in sound localization.
    • Coincidence detection and delay lines.
    • Precision and processing of signal time differences.
    • Side peak suppression.