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Becoming what you smell

Vijay Balasubramanian (U Penn)
Monday, October 7, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
PAA 102

Physics Colloquium

Title: Becoming what you smell: adaptive sensing and efficient coding in the olfactory system

Abstract: I will discuss the circuit architecture of the early olfactory system as an adaptive, efficient mechanism for compressing the vast space of odor mixtures into the responses of a small number of sensors. In this view, the olfactory sensory repertoire first leverages the power of randomness to implement a compressive sensing procedure. It then adapts the resulting representation to efficiently encode and optimize information transfer from the changing environment of volatile molecules. I will show how such adaptive, combinatorial information representations can be efficiently decoded, and will compare the predictions with animal behavior.

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