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Of mice, men and… computers: common foundations of biological and artificial vision

11 March 2019
New research by SISSA confirms the similarities between rats, primates and artificial vision systems

It is known that there are important similarities between the visual system of primates and the artificial neural networks of the latest generation. Now we know how that these similarities exist also with the visual system of rats. The study, supervised by SISSA Professor Davide Zoccolan and Dr. Federica B. Rosselli (a SISSA graduate and now postdoctoral researcher in the Caesar centre of the Max Plank Society in Bonn), conducted together with Giulio Matteucci (first author), Rosilari Bellacosa Marotti and Margherita Riggi, provides new insights on the mechanisms used by neurons in rat visual cortex to encode the shape of visual objects. The results confirm the importance that rodents can have in the study of the neuronal basis of vision. They also suggest that the brain of these animals, in addition to that of the most evolved species, can inspire improvements to the so-called Artificial Deep Neural Networks, possibly helping them to “see” in a way that is increasingly more similar to their biological counterparties.


Press release