Cortical Columns, Models of
A cortical column is a module in the neocortex, approximately 300–600 μm in diameter, composed of many minicolumns coupled by short-range horizontal connections. Neurons within a column often share dynamic response properties. In general, a column is part of a continuous sheet of neocortex, where the boundaries of individual columns cannot be determined by anatomy alone, although there are exceptions such as the barrel field columns in rodent neocortex. Columns with similar response properties are often connected by long-range horizontal connections. Numerous efforts have been undertaken to develop computational models of the cortical column, which is often equated with the quest to identify the fundamental computational unit of the mammalian brain. These efforts span from highly simplified “mean-field” models that model interactions between homogeneous cell populations to detailed biophysical models with heterogeneous neuron morphologies and diverse electrophysiological...
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