Terence Sanger, University of Southern California
Rate coding, spike coding, and biological control

Aug 28, 2017, 2:00pm; EEB 132


Although biological and artificial computation must solve similar problems, they do so in very different ways. I will discuss several closely related topics in biological control systems. Risk-aware control is a set of human behaviors in asymmetric cost environments that set the groundwork and requirements for models of biological feedback control. Stochastic Dynamic Operators provide a set of tools for control of uncertain stochastic systems, and I show that these operators can implement risk aware control in a simple robotic visual targeting task. I also show how the calculations necessary for control and stabilization can be implemented in populations of asynchronous spiking neurons. Finally, I provide preliminary data from electrophysiological recordings in the brains of children with movement disorders that provide some clues as to how the human basal ganglia encode movement.


Dr. Terence Sanger is the director of the USC Pediatric Movement Disorders Center. His research focuses on understanding the origins of pediatric movement disorders from both a biological and a computational perspective. The primary goal of his research is to discover new methods for treating children with movement disorders. Dr. Sanger coordinates the Childhood Motor Study Group (CMSG) and the NIH Taskforce on Childhood Movement Disorders, and he is principal investigator on several research studies at USC. He runs the pediatric movement disorders clinic at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA) in the department of Neurology. His training includes background in Child Neurology, Electrical Engineering, Signal Processing, Control Theory, Neural Networks, and Computational Neuroscience.