Understanding Neural Maps with Topographica

James A. Bednar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The biological function of neurons can often be understood only in the context of large, highly interconnected networks. These networks typically form two-dimensional topographic maps, such as the retinotopic maps in mammalian visual cortex. Computational simulations of these areas have led to valuable insights about how cortical topography develops and functions, but further progress has been hindered due to the lack of appropriate simulation tools. This paper introduces the freely available Topographica maplevel simulator, originally developed at the University of Texas at Austin and now maintained at the University of Edinburgh, UK. Topographica is designed to make large-scale, detailed models practical. The goal is to allow neuroscientists and computational scientists to work together to understand how topographic maps and their connections organize and operate. This understanding will be crucial for integrating experimental observations into a comprehensive theory of brain function.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBrains, Minds & Media
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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