Functional microcircuits in the brain and in artificial intelligent systems


Fundamental principles underlying higher-order cognitive functions remain elusive, but recent breakthroughs in neurophysiology and deep learning offer new perspectives. First, experimental studies have uncovered neural circuit motifs consisting of various neuron types; see Brain Initiative Cell Census Network ( For example, inhibitory neuron types expressing exclusive genes have specific targets and distinct functions (Pfeffer et al., 2013). Furthermore, diverse neuron types in cortex and their connectomes were identified in cortical columns (Jiang et al., 2015); see also Barth et al. (2016) for a debate on neuron types. Second, artificial neural networks were originally inspired by structures of the brain (McCulloch and Pitts, 1943) and could be trained to perform complex functions similar to human perception/cognition by deep learning (DL) (Lecun et al., 2015).

Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience