Technique Thursday: Computational Modeling

With neuroscience and computer science bleeding into one another, there are a number of ways that computer programming can help in understanding the brain. This can be achieved via computational modeling.

Computational modeling is the intersection of math, physics, and computer science that is used to study the behavior of complex systems via computer models. When applied to the brain, it becomes computational neuroscience, a growing field.

During computational modeling, simulations are done by adjusting the variables of a given system.

Modeling is a great way to enhance research:

  • conduct multiple studies, simultaneously, utilizing different variables
  • do away with the need for research animals
  • help to identify the physical experiments that need to be done
  • saves funding

Computational modeling can relate structural connectivity to functional connectivity in the brain. Or it can provide models for how the brain works during various activities. Or it can provide information on how the fetal brain develops, or how traumatic brain injury affects cognition. Models can even be created of psychiatric disorders, such as dissociative identity disorder (DID) or schizophrenia.

A great short book on computational modeling in relation to the brain can be found here.

A GREAT video to watch can be found here:

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