UV-CINV, Universidad ValparaisoCORTEX - INRIA NANCY
UTFSM, Universidad Técnica Federico Santa MaríaNEUROMATHCOMP - INRIA SOPHIA

The Associate team CORTINA ran from 2011 to 2013. Mid-2012, the members of the EPI Cortex principally involved in Cortina moved to Bordeaux to create the new EPI Mnemosyne. Consequently,this webpage, associated to the Cortex EPI, reports on the activities of Cortina in 2011 and 2012. The activities of 2013 are reported on this webpage, associated to the Mnemosyne EPI.



Keywords : Computational Neurosciences, cortex modeling, cerebral models of architecture and learning in the visual system, distributed computation, machine learning, artificial intelligence, memory, learning and reasoning, cognitive science
Keywords : brain-machine interface, machine learning, visuo-motor system
Keywords : Dynamical systems, statistical physics, modelling and analysing neural networks, spike train statistics
Keywords: neural field, population coding, mathematical analysis
Keywords : models of vision (retina, perception of the movement, salience, recognition of images and actions), mathematical frameworks (approaches by EDP, neuronal fields)
Keywords: dynamic neural fields, self-orgnization, cognition, attention
Keywords : Artificial/biological motion perception, event-based neural assembly computation, variational parametric estimation
Keywords : sensory biology, retina, multielectrodes, neural coding
Keywords : computational neuroscience, biological vision, motion perception, spiking neural networks, natural image analysis
Keywords : Magnetic Resonance Imaging, more specifically diffusion MRI and functional MRI & Medical Image Processing
  • Pierre Guiraud, UV Assistant Professor
Keywords : Large-sized dynamic systems, nondifferentiable dynamic systems, dynamic symbolic system, chaos, entropy, modeling
Keywords : Conductance based modeling, neuronal excitability, cold sensory transduction, channel noise and variability
Keywords : Machine Learning, Pattern Recognition, Computational Intelligence, Data Mining
  • Juan Cristobal Zagal, UCH PhD
Keywords : Artificial Vision, Robotic
  • Diego Cosmelli, PUC, PhD
Keywords : Cognitive Science



  • Mauricio Cerda Villablanca CORTEX PhD (now postdoc in Santiago)
  • Hassan Nasser NeuroMathComp PhD
  • Vivien Robinet NeuroMathComp (Post-doc, now assistant professor)
  • Carolina Saavedra CORTEX PhD
  • Wahiba Taouali CORTEX PhD
  • Carlos Carvajal, CORTEX PhD
  • Rodrigo Coffre, NEUROMATHCOMP PhD


  • Catherine Fuentealba, UTSFM
  • Luis Caceres, UTFSM
  • Cristóbal Nettle, UTFSM
  • Gabriel Urrutia, UTFSM
  • Pedro Toledo, UTFSM
  • Sebastián Sáez, UTFSM
  • Aland Astudillo, UV-CINV, UTFSM
  • Claudia Salazar, UV-CINV
  • Joaquin Araya, UV-CINV
  • Danilo Pezo, UV-CINV
  • Erick Olivares, Doctorado en Ciencias, mención Neurociencia, UV-CINV
  • Miguel Piñeiro, Doctorado en Ciencias, mención Neurociencia, UV-CINV
  • Jose Maria Hurtado, Phd UCSD USA, Postdoctoral Fellow, UV-CINV
  • Alvaro Ardiles, PhD UV, Postdoctoral Fellow, UV-CINV
  • Cesar Ravello, UCH, Research Assistant


Much progress has been made in the last decades in understanding the basic organization and function of the nervous system in general. Contributions to this end have come from various domains including computational neuroscience and numerical science of the information in general. The goal of this associate team is to combine our complementary expertise, from experimental biology and mathematical models (U de Valparaiso and U Federico Santa-Maria) to computational neuroscience (CORTEX and NEUROMATHCOMP), in order to develop common tools for the analysis and formalization of neural coding and related sensory-motor loops. Recording and modeling spike trains from the retina neural network, an accessible part of the brain, is a difficult task that our partnership can address, what constitute an excellent and unique opportunity to work together sharing our experience and to focus in developing computational tools for methodological innovations. To understand How the neural spike coding from natural image sequences works we are addressing the following issues: How visual signals are coded at earlier steps in the case of natural vision? What are their functions? What are the computational “coding” principles explaining (in artificial or biological system) the statistical properties of natural images? We wish to advance our actual knowledge in natural and artificial visual signals processing and apply it to the field of education; to foster better capacities for learning and memory; sensory prosthesis design, to will help unpaired sensory persons to sense the world and physical rehabilitation, among others. In the context of the cooperation between the INRIA and Chile our methodology and questions are transversal and can be used and potentiated several field and applications.


  • TASK 1 : Observing non-standard behaviour of ganglion retinal cells, with natural image sequences.
    • Collection of natural images in the natural environment of the Degus (the chilean rodent used as our animal model); statistical analysis of these images; bibliographic analysis of the methods of estimation of natural stimuli and corresponding software development.
  • TASK 2 : Identifying new non-linear mapping from natural images to non-standard sensor (ganglion cells) responses.
    • Two masters (in Chile and in France) on independent component analysis (ICA) applied to global images (at the level of the retina) or local receptive fields (at the level of the cortex) and corresponding software development.
  • TASK 3 : Applying statistical analysis of ganglion cells retina responses and study of underlying adaptation mechanisms
    • Development of elaborated statistical analysis linked to electrophysiological recordings.


  • We first underline activities (partly) funded by Cortina:
    • Meeting and presentation at IBRO 2011: F. Alexandre, P. Orio, E. Olivares present in Florence + travel by P. Orio and E. Olivares to meet colleagues in Sophia.
    • Meeting and presentation at ECVP 2011: MJ. Escobar and M. Cerda present in Toulouse + travel by MJ. Escobar to meet colleagues in Sophia.
    • Summer School: Laconeu 2012 web site
    2nd Latin American Summer School in Computational Neuroscience 2012
    Special Topic: Neural Coding and Natural Image Statistics
    9-13 January 2012, Valparaiso, Chile
    travels for people performing presentation during the summer school
    • Stay of Rodrigo Salas in France (April 20-Jul 20, 2012) partly supported for his travel to the ESANN'12 conference, where he presented a common paper and for a visit to Nancy.
    • Organization of the NeuroComp-Keops2012 Workshop
    partly joint event with the conference of the French Society in Computational Neuroscience (October 10-11, 2012)
    internal meeting of the Keops project (October 8-9, 2012)
    exchange between french and chilean colleagues in neuroscience (conference held on the NeuroCampus in Bordeaux)
    travels for invited speakers of the conference
    visit and collaboration of chilean colleagues to Inria Sophia Neuromathcomp (MJ.Escobar) and Paris (Institut de la Vision, A. Palacios)
    • Stay of Hassan Nasser in Valparaiso (Nov 16-Dec 10, 2012) partly supported for sharing his expertise on the software he contributed to develop, with neuroscientist colleagues presently using it
  • Student supervision:
    • in 2012, Adrian Palacios+Maria-Jose Escobar and Thierry Viéville co-supervised the Master Project by Aland Astudillo “Parameter identification using Independent Componente Analysis (ICA) applied to natural images and with relevance for retinal biology”. Master degree in Biomedical Ingeniering. Facultad de Ciencias UV, Cl
    • in 2011, Thierry Viéville and Adrian Palacios co-supervised the Master Project by Carlos Carvajal
    • Adrian Palacios: participation to PhD defense committees in France
    • Maria-Jose Escobar: participation to the Master Thesis defense of Elaa Teftef (June 2012, by visio)
    • In september 2011, Rodrigo Cofré, supervised by B. Cessac, has begun a PhD in France (funding by UNS). Title: "Statistique de potentiels d'action et structures neuronales"
    • In january 2012, Carlos Carvajal has begun a PhD in France, co-supervised by F. Alexandre and T. Viéville (funding by the Keops project and the Lorraine Region)
  • Team meeting: The group has a visio meeting every tuesday afternoon (french time), common with the Keops project (list of the meeting dates and topics).
  • Common papers:
    • Escobar M.J., Masson G.S. and Kornprobst P. (2011). “Can V1 surround suppression mechanism explain MT motion integration?”. 15th International Conference on Cognitive and Neural Systems (ICCNS), Boston, USA.
    • Escobar M.J., Toledo P., Masson G.S. and Kornprobst P. (2011). “How MT neurons get influenced by V1 surround suppression?”. Perception 40 ECVP Abstract Supplement, page 76.
    • Escobar M.J. and Kornprobst P. (2012). Action Recognition via Bio-Inspired Features: The Richness of Center-Surround Interactions. Computer Vision and Image Understanding 116, pages 593-605.
    • B. Cessac, R.Salas and T. Vieville. "Using event-based metric for event-based neural network weight adjustment". In the Proceeding of the 20th European Symposium on Artificial Neural Networks, Computational Intelligence and Machine Learning (ESANN’2012). Bruges, Belgium. 25-27th of April, 2012.
    • B. Cessac and A. Palacios, "Spike train statistics from empirical facts to theory: the case of the retina", In Mathematical Problems in Computational Biology and Biomedicine, F. Cazals and P. Kornprobst, Springer, to appear. 2012
    • J.C. Vasquez, A. Palacios, O. Marre, M.J. Berry II, B. Cessac, Gibbs distribution analysis of temporal correlation structure on multicell spike trains from retina ganglion cells, J. Physiol. Paris, , Volume 106, Issues 3–4, May–August 2012, Pages 120–127,
    • C. Saavedra and L. Bougrain, Wavelet-based Semblance for P300 Single-trial Detection, BioSignals 2013, the 6th Int. Conf. on Bio-Inspired Systems and Signal Processing, Barcelona, 2013.
    • Álvaro O. Ardiles, Cheril C. Tapia-Rojas, Madhuchhanda Mandal, Frederic Alexandre, Alfredo Kirkwood, Nibaldo C. Inestrosa & Adrian G. Palacios. "Post-synaptic dysfunction is associated with spatial and object recognition memory loss in a natural model of Alzheimer’s disease." Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences USA, 109(34):13835-40, 2012

We can also mention that this latter paper has obtained a good visibility at the national and international levels, eg:


We mention here new projects (on the same collaborative ground or not) on close scientific domains, the existence of which is partly due to our focus on the domain, particularly within CORTINA:

  • KEOPS ANR International project with the same french/chilean collaboration; Duration: 2011-2014.
  • FONDECYT: "Neurobiology of vision in the retina of the diurnal rodent octodon degus: a psychophysical, multi-electrode and computational approach"; Duration: 2011-2015.
  • FONDECYT Project: "Motion Integration Mechanisms in Mammalian Visual System"; Duration: 2012-2013.
  • The Milenium Scientific Initiative (ICM) project for the Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencia de Valparaíso: a 10 years financial support (1 Million Euros per Year; duration 2011-2021) including one activity in Neuroscience Systems and Computational Neuroscience


  • On the french side, F. Alexandre and collaborators have created a new Inria team in Bordeaux (Mnemosyne). Accordingly, it would be more logical to propose the third year of Cortina in association with Mnemosyne.
  • It is also important to underline that Mnemosyne is in fact on the Neurocampus in Bordeaux, and particularly in the IMN Lab (Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases). Some preliminary exchanges have been done between french and chilean neuroscientists.