What can MaxEnt reveal about high-density recordings and what can high-density recordings reveal about MaxEnt?
© Panas et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2011
Published: 18 July 2011
Recent advances in neural recording techniques open exciting possibilities of better understanding whole populations of neurons. Devices such as APS MEA (Active Pixel Sensor Microelectrode Array) [1, 2] allow for simultaneous recordings from 4096 channels (64x64 grid) at near-cellular resolution (electrode size: 21μm, electrode spacing: 42μm) and constitute a potentially very rich and detailed source of information on the dynamics of neural systems. Such volumes of data are however difficult to analyse: simple measures such as mean firing rates and correlations are often insufficient to capture interesting phenomena, while more sophisticated approaches can be computationally intensive and hard to interpret. Here we examine the applicability of pairwise maximum entropy (MaxEnt) [3–5] modelling to describe APS MEA data.
Pairwise maximum entropy model (equivalent to Ising model in physics), when fit to the data, yields a minimally structured probability distribution of network states that respects first and second order interactions. It is a convex, parsimonious and readily interpretable model that has been shown to characterize spiking patterns surprisingly robustly in many cases [3, 4]. Additionally, it can provide a sensitive tool in detecting higher-order interactions. As reported in , the significant failure of the Ising model in close range (<300 μm) uncovers a high-order processing mode in local clusters of neurons, a mode of processing absent on larger scale (>600 μm) and undetectable with correlations.
This work was funded by EPSRC and BBSRC as part of Doctoral Training Centre programme at School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh(DP); MRC Fellowship G0900425 (MHH); and IDEA, FP6-NEST Grant 516432 (AM and LB).
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