Possible Workshop for 2006 Meeting

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jtmoyer
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Possible Workshop for 2006 Meeting

Post by jtmoyer » Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:24 pm

I'd like to submit a request for a tutorial or workshop for the NEURON 2006 Simulator meeting in Austin - I would be very interested in a workshop on model reduction. That is, how do you take a very complicated model (in our case, 169 compartments, 15 currents) and reduce it to a much smaller one (say 20-30 compartments, 5 currents).

Having never done this, I am not in a position to lead such a workshop, and I don't know if this is a compelling issue for other NEURON users. So my questions are 1) would other attendees be interested in such a workshop and 2) how to go about organizing it - ie, who has experience with this and would be willing to contribute?

ted
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Post by ted » Wed Mar 29, 2006 11:55 pm

You're raising a provocative question. I'm surprised--or maybe not
surprised--that this hasn't yet received comments.

Model reduction is a very broad topic. One could say that a form of model
reduction happens every time someone cooks up a conceptual model that
can be mapped into a computational model (because most of our conceptual
models of biological systems have many components that are either too
poorly constrained, or not relevant to a particular research question). The
very act of selecting what a computationally-testable conceptual model
should omit, what it should include, and how much detail to preserve in
that which is included, is model reduction.

But you probably mean "given a computational model, how do I reduce its
complexity?" Typically this involves replacing mechanistic ("works the
same way") representations with functional ("has a similar effect")
representations. The hope is to preserve essential qualitative similarities
(whatever that means--what is the basis for deciding that something is
essential, and how does one judge the degree of qualitative similarity?).

The broad categories of interest are anatomical and biophysical, and
the latter fall into electrical and chemical phenomena/mechanisms.
There is no single strategy that works in all cases. Successful practitioners
accumulate a bag of tricks that sometimes produce satisfactory results.
It also helps to be able to write and/or speak very convincingly.

In any case, I for one would be quite interested in a general discussion
on this topic, here in the Forum and also in a session at the NEURON
Simulator Meeting.

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