UTFSM, Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María NEUROMATHCOMP – INRIA SOPHIA

CORTINA’13 (See  CORTINA’12 page for previous activities) :


Much progress has been made in the last decades in understanding the basic organization and function of the nervous system in general. Contributions to this end have come from various domains including computational neuroscience and science of the information in general. The goal of this associate team is to combine our complementary expertise, from experimental biology and mathematical models (U de Valparaiso and U Federico Santa-Maria, in link with UCH) to computational neuroscience (MNEMOSYNE and NEUROMATHCOMP, in link with CORTEX), in order to develop common methods and tools for the analysis and formalization of neural coding and related sensory-motor loops and motivated behavior.

From recording and modeling spike trains from the retina neural network, an accessible part of the brain, to more integrated motivated behavioral studies, difficult challenges are targeted that our partnership can address, sharing our experience, and developing computational tools for methodological innovations.

Issues include :
How the neural spike coding from natural image sequences works regarding purposive vision: How visual signals are coded at earlier steps in the case of natural vision? What are their functions? What are the computational “coding” principles explaining (in artificial or biological system) the statistical properties of natural images?
How does vision interact with the brain system of active memories in synergy and in interaction with the internal and external world : How is used a-priori visual information issued from non-standard retinal retinal cells in sensori-motor tasks ? To which extent visual prosthesis design must take into account such visual high-level cues ? To which extent an artificial “bot” inspired by such systemic knowledge is able to perform a survival task ?

In the context of the cooperation between the INRIA and Chile our methodology and questions are transversal and can be used and potentiated several field and applications.



Keywords : Computational Neurosciences, cortex modeling, cerebral models of architecture and learning in the visual system, distributed computation, machine learning, artificial intelligence, memory, learning and reasoning, cognitive science
Keywords : Dynamical systems, statistical physics, modelling and analysing neural networks, spike train statistics
Keywords : models of vision (retina, perception of the movement, salience, recognition of images and actions), mathematical frameworks (approaches by EDP, neuronal fields)
Keywords: dynamic neural fields, self-orgnization, cognition, attention
Keywords : Artificial/biological motion perception, event-based neural assembly computation, variational parametric estimation


Keywords : sensory biology, retina, multielectrodes, neural coding
Keywords : computational neuroscience, biological vision, motion perception, spiking neural networks, natural image analysis
Keywords : Magnetic Resonance Imaging, more specifically diffusion MRI and functional MRI & Medical Image Processing
  • Pierre Guiraud, UV Assistant Professor
Keywords : Large-sized dynamic systems, nondifferentiable dynamic systems, dynamic symbolic system, chaos, entropy, modeling
Keywords : Conductance based modeling, neuronal excitability, cold sensory transduction, channel noise and variability
Keywords : Machine Learning, Pattern Recognition, Computational Intelligence, Data Mining
  • Juan Cristobal Zagal, UCH PhD
Keywords : Artificial Vision, Robotic
  • Diego Cosmelli, PUC, PhD
Keywords : Cognitive Science



  • Hassan Nasser NeuroMathComp PhD
  • Carlos Carvajal, CORTEX PhD
  • Rodrigo Coffre, NEUROMATHCOMP PhD


  • Catherine Fuentealba, UTSFM
  • Luis Caceres, UTFSM
  • Cristóbal Nettle, UTFSM
  • Gabriel Urrutia, UTFSM
  • Pedro Toledo, UTFSM
  • Sebastián Sáez, UTFSM
  • Aland Astudillo, UV-CINV, UTFSM
  • Claudia Salazar, UV-CINV
  • Joaquin Araya, UV-CINV
  • Danilo Pezo, UV-CINV
  • Erick Olivares, Doctorado en Ciencias, mención Neurociencia, UV-CINV
  • Miguel Piñeiro, Doctorado en Ciencias, mención Neurociencia, UV-CINV
  • Jose Maria Hurtado, Phd UCSD USA, Postdoctoral Fellow, UV-CINV
  • Alvaro Ardiles, PhD UV, Postdoctoral Fellow, UV-CINV
  • Cesar Ravello, UCH, Research Assistant


  • The retina with natural image stimuli :
    • On going activity : Observing non-standard behaviour of ganglion retinal cells, with natural image sequences. Applying statistical analysis of ganglion cells retina responses and study of underlying adaptation mechanisms.Development of elaborated statistical analysis linked to electrophysiological recordings, including gap-junction coupled effects.
    • Next step activity : Analysing at the local network level, the statistical properties of ganglion cells output spike trains, including adaptation mechanisms. Working on model-based representation of the spike train activity.
  • Identifying non-linear mapping from natural image sequences
    •  On going activity : Analysing non-standard (K-cells) sensor responses and its use beyond the retina in the purposive part of the visual system. Developing bio-physical and closely biologically related models of motion percpetion based on very recent literature data.
    • Next step activity : Beyond the retina, applications of non-standard input/output transformations (such as provided by Konio cells) are going to be related to the what and how sensory-motor brain pasthways, including motivated vision for action.
  • Emerging subjects and exploring new topics : It is important to underline that Mnemosyne is in fact on the Neurocampus in Bordeaux, and particularly in the IMN Lab (Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases). Some preliminary exchanges have been done between French and Chilean neuroscientists, based on a previous unexpected part of our collaboration. Another collaboration, yet restrained to data analysis, concerns  the analysis of cranial neural crest cell migration on a population-wide basis.


Our main activities in 2013 (cf also our previous collaborative activities) are :

  • Annual scientific event: From 13 to 31 january 2014 we organize Laconeu’2014, our annual common workshop together with an international summer-school (topics of the three weeks: 1. Computational Neuroscience; 2. Network Neurodynamics; 3. Basal Ganglia and motivated learning). This was the case at the end of 2011 (School: Laconeu 2012 web site 2nd Latin American Summer School in Computational Neuroscience 2012,Special Topic: Neural Coding and Natural Image Statistics) and in 2012 (Organization of the NeuroComp-Keops2012 Workshop. Beyond the retina: from computational models to outcomes in bioengineering. Focus on architecture and dynamics sustaining information flows in the visuomotor system) .
  • Adrian Palacios visited EPI Mnemosyne in Bordeaux from 10 to 26 of september 2013, also supported by the french Labex BRAIN.
  • Team weekly meeting: The group has a visio meeting every tuesday (morning in Chile, ,afternoon in France) common with the KEOpS project (list of the meeting dates and topics).\
  • Common student supervision and common publication policy : As a lever of collaboration, common student supervision carries on as  previously.
  • Initiating a common software platform sharing : With the maturity of scientific software developments like EnaS and other KEoPS software modules on both Chilean and French side, we are going to devote a part of our collaborative activities to make available all these pieces of code to the community. Exisiting platforms and tools are going to be targeted and used. This is going to require a minimal investment, given the existing work realized, but is going to be an important outcome.

Common publications:

  • Boric K, Orio P, Viéville T, Whitlock K (2013) Quantitative Analysis of Cell Migration Using Optical Flow. PLoS ONE 8(7): e69574. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069574 (note that the topic of this paper is far from Cortina, but was allowed by our common activities)
  • B. Cessac and R. Cofré, Spike train statistics and Gibbs distributions, J. Physiol. Paris (2013), In press.
  • Rodrigo Cofré and Bruno Cessac Dynamics and spike trains statistics in conductance-based Integrate-and-Fire neural networks with chemical and electric synapses, Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, Volume 50, May 2013, Pages 13-31.
  • Escobar M.J., Toledo P., Masson G.S, Kornprobst P. (2013) MT Motion Integration can be Explained by the SpatioTemporal Frequency Content of V1 Surround Suppression. Journal of Vision, vol. 13, no. 9, article 362. DOI: 10.1167/13.9.362
  • Teftef E. Escobar, M.J., Astudillo A., Carvajal C., Cessac B., Palacios, A., Viéville T. and Alexandre F. (2013). Modeling non-standard retinal in/out function using computer vision variational methods. Research Report RR-8217, INRIA.
  • Carvajal, Carlos; Viéville, Thierry; Alexandre, Frédéric, (2013) Impact of the Konio pathway in the thalamocortical visual system: a modeling study, CNS – 22nd Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting – 2013
  • Carvajal, Carlos; Viéville, Thierry; Alexandre, Frédéric, (2013) To flee or not to flee? Neural Field dynamics shape information flows in a model of the thalamocortical visual system, BC – Bernstein Conference – 2013
  • Teftef, Elaa; Carvajal, Carlos; Viéville, Thierry; Alexandre, Frédéric,(2013) When early vision in the retina attempts to take decisions about visual motion events : the role of konio cells, Third International Symposium on Biology of Decision Making


New projects (on the same collaborative ground or not) on close scientific domains, the existence of which is partly due to our focus on the domain, particularly within CORTINA:

  • KEOPS ANR International project with the same french/chilean collaboration; Duration: Jan 2011- Dec 2014 (with a one year extension proposal).
  • FONDECYT: “Neurobiology of vision in the retina of the diurnal rodent octodon degus: a psychophysical, multi-electrode and computational approach”; Duration: 2011-2015.
  • FONDECYT Project: “Motion Integration Mechanisms in Mammalian Visual System”; Duration: 2012-2013.
  • CONICYT PAI-MEC2013 8013055 “Speed Processing in the Non-Human Visual System” 2014.
  • The Milenium Scientific Initiative (ICM) project for the Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencia de Valparaíso: a 10 years financial support (1 Million Euros per Year; duration 2011-2021) including one activity in Neuroscience Systems and Computational Neuroscience.

On the french side, F. Alexandre and collaborators have created a new Inria team in Bordeaux (Mnemosyne).with a direct benefice from this associated team synergy.

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