EECS500 Fall 2015 Department Colloquium

Chris Fietkiewicz
State-of-the-Art Programming Methods for Simulating the Brain
White 411
October 8, 2015

Imagine that we tried to reverse-engineer a modern computer without knowing how to build anything like it. This is similar to the challenge of understanding the brain. Computer simulations of the brain have become essential in formulating and testing theories in neuroscience. This talk will present state-of-the-art mathematical and programming methods, including emerging methods that are transforming the field of neuroscience. Different programming methods have been brought to bear on the challenges of neural simulations. These include the use of different programming languages, parallelization, and specialized data structures. In recent years, new methods of using computational tools have emerged that are transforming the field of neuroscience. One technique, known as dynamic clamp, literally creates living cyborgs in the laboratory. Another development is an emphasis on open source practices, which has been influenced significantly by the global software community. In many ways, the evolution of programming methods influences discoveries in neuroscience.


Dr. Chris Fietkiewicz is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio where he earned his Ph.D. in computer science. His primary field is computational neuroscience, and he develops biologically-based simulations with the goal of relating behavioral dynamics to actual physiological mechanisms. Specific applications include Parkinson’s Disease and the neural control of respiration.