Computational Eye and Brain Project

Computational Eye and Brain Project


Purpose. We are developing a freely available collaborative software resource to capture our current understanding of the physiological optics, phototransduction and retinal processing that shape the visual signals transmitted from the eye to the brain. We envision this resource being accompanied by a repository of validation data, and being used to generate testable hypotheses about visual physiology and behavior. In the long run, we hope the resource will encompass portions of the visual system beyond the eye, and will be used in diverse disciplines including science, engineering, medicine, and education. Ideally, it will evolve into a centralized platform for understanding, sharing, and applying of our knowledge of the early visual pathways.

Design. The resource is a computational engine that captures current understanding of how the early visual pathways operate, from the light field to the retinal output signals. The first stage captures essential features of physiological imaging and photon capture. Models of the phototransduction process then convert the photon capture to photoreceptor signals that begin the cascade of retinal processing. Finally, models of retinal circuitry and processing convert these photoreceptor signals to output patterns of retinal ganglion cell activity, emulating the signals conveyed from the eye to the brain. Central elements of the architecture, current and future, include:

Software. The computational engine for the project is ISETBIO, an open-source package for physiological optics calculations. ISETBIO is being extended to serve as the computational core for the functions described above.

People. This project is organized by (in alphabetical order): D. Brainard, E.J. Chichilnisky, F. Rieke, and B. Wandell. Major contributors include: N. Cottaris, X. Ding, J. Golden, B. Heasly, H. Jiang, J. Winawer. We are also benefiting from ideas and technical input generously provided by: S. Baccus, W. Bair, J. Burge, J. Freeman, G. Horwitz, C. Koch, M. Meister, W. Newsome, L.M. Perry, A. Roorda, and E. Simoncelli.

Related. Some related projects include iModel, WebVision, Virtual Retina, Project on Scientific Transparency and the Allen Institute Open Science Resources.

Support. The project is supported by the Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain.

Contact. Please contact E.J. Chichilnisky with questions. Updated May 5, 2016.