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About Me[edit]

Year 2010

My name is Jonathan Lettvin (aka User:Iapx86). I attempt to solve the many persisting paradoxes in neuroscience by analysing the mathematical necessities of structure and function in nervous systems.

Starting from first principles (B.S. Physics MIT 1976) I explore the interaction of ions with modulated structured water ordered by long protein filaments. From there I work my way up to transduction, propagation, collection and projection topologies using discrete lattice calculations amenable to distributed processing. I use these methods to explore opportunities for efficient reflex by feedback of predicted future inputs. I'm guided by a few simple rules such as evolving configurations that obey "least energy use" and "maximum invariance discovery".

Having participated in countless wet neurophysiology experiments, I am familiar with experimental protocol and expected results when discovering, eliciting, recording, and interpreting signals through single microelectrode techniques in frog and octopus optic nerve and cat spinal chord.

My personal goal is to answer Cajal's three questions about nervous systems (ISBN 0-19-507401-7 Histology of the Nervous System): "Practitioners will only be able to claim that a valid explanation of a histological observation has been provided if three questions can be answered satisfactorily: what is the functional role of the arrangement in the animal; what mechanisms underlie this function; and what sequence of chemical and mechanical events during evolution and development gave rise to these mechanisms." Santiago Ramón y Cajal

Web presence[edit]

My privately hosted home page links to some of the dozen or two private mediawiki sites I have developed. A number of them like this one are password protected for use in private development with friends.

Historical HTML and PHP[edit]

  • brainbuildingkit (a years old proposal offering codified rules for constructing primitive nervous systems)
  • daynightlamp (another early proposal for improving images suffering from common photographic defects)

Current material[edit]

My latest mathematical models of neural transforms are not published, and far outperform these earlier proposals both in efficiency and capability. With the potential inclusion of authority-owned wiki material I am considering using wikipedia as the launching pad for a series of short papers illustrating methods for image processing including:

  • feature detection
  • contrast invariance
  • aperture invariance
  • chromatic de-aberration
  • color constancy
  • de-noising
  • hyperacuity
  • defect invariance
  • predictive feedback, and
  • reflex response.

Capabilities and Directions[edit]

I am considered strong in C++, and work well in either Agile or waterfall teams and have developed a number of novel algorithms and processes. I take particular delight in developing high performance code with zero defects and am currently exploring methods for using distributed computing to achieve highly reliable transforms over low reliability networks. Python, mayavi2 and tvtk, and ITK look very promising to me, and I have written a couple of particle systems and image processing applications using them.

See more at:

Some favorite wikipedia pages[edit]

Recent contributions to wikipedia[edit]


Selected Bibliography[edit]

Anatomy, Medicine, Brains, Neurons, and Biological Electricity[edit]

Friedrich G. Barth
(ISBN 3-540-42046-0) A Spider's World
Andrew J. Bean
(ISBN 978-0-12-369437-9) Protein Trafficking in Neurons
Robert M. Berne and Matthew N. Levy
(ISBN 0-8151-0952-0) Physiology Fourth Edition
G. S. Brindley
(Alden Press 1960) Physiology of the Retina and the Visual Pathway
Charles L. Dana
(Wm. Wood and Company 1897) Text-Book of Nervous Diseases (Fourth Revised Edition)
John F. Dowling
(ISBN 0-674-00462-0) Neurons and Networks
Alan Fein & Ete Z. Szuts
(ISBN 0-521-28684-0) Photoreceptors: their role in vision
Wendell J. S. Krieg, Ph.D.
(The Blakiston Company, Philadelphia, 1942) Functional Neuroanatomy
Gilbert Ling
(to be added)
Bruce McLennan
Information Processing in Dendritic Nets
Karl H. Pribram, John Carew Eccles
(ISBN 0805814663, 9780805814668) Rethinking neural networks: quantum fields and biological data
Santiago Ramón y Cajal
(ISBN 0-19-507401-7) Histology of the Nervous System
(ISBN 0-262-18191-6) Advice for a Young Investigator
(ISBN 0-262-03166-3) New Ideas on the Structure of the Nervous System in Vertebrates
Whitman Richards
(ISBN 0-262-68055-6) Natural Computation
Bruce I. H. Scott
(Scientific American Oct. 1962, S. 107-115) Electricity in Plants
Sir Charles Sherrington
(1961 Yale Press) The Integrative Action of the Nervous System
Ekaterina G. Shkol'nik-Yarros
(Library of Congress SBN 306-30429-5) Neurons and Interneuronal Connections of the Central Visual System
Ichiji Tasaki
(to be added)
Warwick and Williams
(ISBN 0-7216-9127-7) Gray's Anatomy 35th British edition
Stephen G. Waxman
(ISBN 0-89004-215-2) Physiology and Pathobiology of Axons


Jason J.S. Barton and Michael Benatar
(ISBN 1-58829-175-8) Field of Vision, A Manual and Atlas of Perimetry
Trevor Lamb and Janine Bourriau
(ISBN 0521-49963-1) Colour Art and Science
Margaret W. Matlin
(ISBN 0-205-07849-4) Perception

Mathematics, Physics, and Signals[edit]

Julius Bendat and Allan G. Piersol
(ISBN 0-471-06470-X) Random Data: Analysis and Measurement Procedures
A. Bruce Carlson
(Library of Congress Catalog Number 68-22761) Communication Systems: An Introduction to Signals and Noise in Electrical Communication
Wilbur B. Davenport, Jr., and William L. Root
(Library of Congress Catalog Number 57-10020) Random Signals and Noise
Charles L. Epstein
(ISBN 0-13-067548-2) Introduction to the Mathematics of Medical Imaging
Eugene Hecht
(ISBN 0-8053-8566-5) Optics
Edward M. Purcell
(Library of Congress Card Number 64-66016) electricity and magnetism
Karel Rektorys
(Library of Congress Card Number 68-25586) Survey of Applicable Mathematics
George B. Thomas Jr.
(Library of Congress Card Number 68-17568) Calculus and Analytic Geometry
D'arcy Wentworth Thompson
(Cambridge at the University Press 1959) On Growth and Form Second Edition
Ian Theodore Young, Jan Jacob Gerbrands, Lucas Jozef Van Vliet
(ISBN 90-75691-01-7) Fundamentals of Image Processing


Michael F. Deering
(SIGGRAPH 2005 October 2, 2005) A Photon Accurate Model of the Human Eye
James Keener and James Sneyd
(ISBN 0-380-98381-3 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: Invalid ISBN.) Mathematical Physiology
Gerald Pollack
(ISBN 0-9626895-2-1) Cells, Gels, and the Engines of Life
(ISBN 978-1-4020-4926-2) Water and the Cell
(ISBN 978-1-4020-8650-2) Phase Transitions in Cell Biology


Alistair Cockburn
(ISBN 0-201-69969-9) Agile Software Development
James O. Coplien
(ISBN 0-201-54855-0) Advanced C++ Programming Styles and Idioms
Stanley B. Lippman
(ISBN 0-201-83454-5) Inside The C++ Object Model
Bjarne Stroustrup
(ISBN 0-201-70073-5) The C++ Programming Language
Matthew Wilson
(ISBN 0-321-22877-4) Imperfect C++

Market Analytics[edit]

Larry Harris
(ISBN 0-19-514470-8) Trading & Exchanges
George Soros
(ISBN 978-1-58648-885-7) The Soros Lectures
George Soros
(ISBN 978-0-471-44549-4) The Alchemy of Finance

Metadata and Philosophy[edit]

Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein
(ISBN 0-19-501919-9) A Pattern Language
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
(824140/12/64) Oxford University PressThe Monadology
Robert Nozick
(ISBN 0-674-00631-3) Invariances
Randy Olson
(ISBN 978-1-59726-563-8) Don't be such a Scientist
Jan Sapp
(ISBN 0-19-508821-2) Evolution by Association
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
(ISBN 978-1-4000-6351-2) The Black Swan


I enjoy the works of at least these folks:

They have inspired me to write over +0.13e+4 poems (and counting).


Flag of Boston.svgThis user lives in or hails from Boston, Massachusetts.
MIT logo.svgThis user attends or attended
en-5This user can contribute with a professional level of English. (talk) 13:57, 15 December 2010 (UTC)