IV Dynamics of Cognition

Chapter 20 Outlook: Dynamics in Plastic Networks

In this final chapter, we combine the dynamics of single neurons (part I and II) and networks (part III) with synaptic plasticity (Ch. 19 ) and illustrate their interaction in a few applications.

In Section 20.1 on ‘reservoir computing’ we show that the network dynamics in random networks of excitatory and inhibitory neurons is sufficiently rich to serve as a computing device that buffers past inputs and computes on present ones. In Section 20.2 we study oscillations that arise in networks of spiking neurons and outline how synaptic plasticity interacts with oscillations. Finally, in Sect. 20.3 , we illustrate why the study of neuronal dynamics is not just an intellectual exercise, but might, one day, become useful for applications or, eventually, benefit human patients.