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The optimal synapse for sparse, binary signals in the rod pathway: Neural Computation

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-44
Number of pages19
JournalNeural Computation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


The sparsity of photons at very low light levels necessitates a nonlinear synaptic transfer function between the rod photoreceptors and the rod-bipolar cells. We examine different ways to characterize the performance of the pathway: the error rate, two variants of the mutual information, and the signal-to-noise ratio. Simulation of the pathway shows that these approaches yield substantially different performance at very low light levels and that maximizing the signal-to-noise ratio yields the best performance when judged from simulated images. The results are compared to recent data.

    Research areas

  • Animals, Contrast Sensitivity, Dark Adaptation, Humans, Light, Models, Neurological, Neural Networks (Computer), Photic Stimulation, Photons, Retinal Bipolar Cells, Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells, Sensory Thresholds, Synapses, Synaptic Transmission, Vision, Ocular, Visual Pathways

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