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Proceedings Paper

Signal compression in biological sensory systems: information theoretic performance limits
Author(s): Mark D. McDonnell
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Paper Abstract

The intensity of analog stimuli, such as the loudness of sounds, is converted by our biological sensory systems into short duration electrical pulses in nerve fibres. These pulses are known as action potentials. In many cases, the transduction process that converts stimulus intensity into an action-potential encoding introduces significant randomness that appears to reduce the quality of the encoding. Due to this inherent random noise, it is the average rate at which action potentials are produced, rather than the instantaneous rate, that encodes stimulus amplitude. In this paper the limits of performance of this transduction process are analyzed using an information theoretic perspective of neural rate coding.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 December 2007
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 6799, BioMEMS and Nanotechnology III, 679913 (27 December 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.759225
Show Author Affiliations
Mark D. McDonnell, Univ. of South Australia (Australia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6799:
BioMEMS and Nanotechnology III
Dan V. Nicolau; Derek Abbott; Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh; Tiziana Di Matteo; Sergey M. Bezrukov, Editor(s)

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