Wulfram Gerstner

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Wulfram Gerstner
EPFL 2018 Wulfram Gerstner Portrait.jpg
Wulfram Gerstner in 2018
Born1963 (age 58–59)
AwardsValentino Braitenberg Award for Computational Neuroscience 2018
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Tübingen
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Academic work
Sub-disciplineComputational neuroscience
InstitutionsÉcole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
Main interestsDynamic models neural activity

Spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP)
Neuronal coding
Hippocampal models

Spatial representation

Wulfram Gerstner (born 1963 in Heilbronn) is a German and Swiss computational neuroscientist. His research focuses on neural spiking patterns in neural networks, and their connection to learning, spatial representation and navigation.[1] Since 2006 Gerstner has been a full professor of Computer Science and Life Sciences at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), where he also serves as a Director of the Laboratory of Computational Neuroscience.[2]


Gerstner studied physics at the University of Tübingen and at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. In 1989, he received his Master's degree with a thesis in experimental quantum optics. He then joined the theoretical biophysics group of William Bialek at University of California, Berkeley as a visiting researcher.[3] He received his PhD in theoretical physics from the Technical University of Munich in 1993 under supervision from Leo van Hemmen. He did post doctoral work at Brandeis University[4] and at Technical University of Munich,[5] where he worked in theoretical neuroscience.

In 1996, he was nominated as assistant professor and in February 2001 he was promoted as an associate professor with tenure at EPFL. In August 2006, Gerstner was appointed full professor at EPFL in both the School of Computer and Communication Sciences and the School of Life Sciences.[2][6]


Gerstner's research is focused on models of spiking neurons,[7][8] spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP),[9][10][11] neuronal coding in single neurons and neuron populations.[12][13][14][15][16] He also investigates models of the hippocampus and their application in the spatial representation for navigation of rat-like autonomous agents.[17]

He is also one of the initiators of The Deep Artificial Composer (DAC), a deep-learning algorithm that can generate melodies by imitating a given style of music.[18][19][20][21]


Gerstner is the author of neuroscientific text books such as Spiking Neuron Models: Single neurons, populations, plasticity (Gerstner, W. and Kistler, W.M., 2002, Cambridge University Press) that introduced the field of spiking neural networks,[8] and Neuronal dynamics: From single neurons to networks and models of cognition (Gerstner, W., Kistler, W.M., Naud, R. and Paninski, L., 2014, Cambridge University Press) on the field of computational neuroscience that was also published as an online version including exercises and video lectures.[22][23]

Selected publications[edit]


Gerstner has been an editorial board member of journals such as Science,[24] The Journal of Neuroscience, Network: Computation in Neural Systems, Journal of Computational Neuroscience,[2] and Neural Computation.

He is the recipient of the Valentino Braitenberg Award for Computational Neuroscience 2018[25] and in 2010 he was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant by the European Research Council.[26] Gerstner is an elected member of the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz.[27]


  1. ^ "Sechs neue Mitglieder in der Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur | Mainz". idw-online.de. Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  2. ^ a b c "Wulfram Gerstner". people.epfl.ch. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  3. ^ GERSTNER, Wulfram (1991). [papers.nips.cc/paper/371-associative-memory-in-a-network-of-biological-neurons.pdf "Associative memory in a network of biological neurons"] (PDF). Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems. 3: 84–90. {{cite journal}}: Check |url= value (help)
  4. ^ Gerstner, Wulfram; Abbott, L.F. (1997-01-01). "Learning Navigational Maps Through Potentiation and Modulation of Hippocampal Place Cells". Journal of Computational Neuroscience. 4 (1): 79–94. doi:10.1023/A:1008820728122. ISSN 1573-6873. PMID 9046453. S2CID 6616177.
  5. ^ GERSTNER, Wulfram (1995). "Time structure of the activity in neural network models". Physical Review E. 51 (1): 738–758. Bibcode:1995PhRvE..51..738G. doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.51.738. PMID 9962697.
  6. ^ "Wulfram Gerstner CV". lcnwww.epfl.ch. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  7. ^ Brette, Romain; Gerstner, Wulfram (2005-11-01). "Adaptive Exponential Integrate-and-Fire Model as an Effective Description of Neuronal Activity" (PDF). Journal of Neurophysiology. 94 (5): 3637–3642. doi:10.1152/jn.00686.2005. ISSN 0022-3077. PMID 16014787.
  8. ^ a b Gerstner, Wulfram. (2002). Spiking neuron models : single neurons, populations, plasticity. Kistler, Werner M., 1969-. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-511-07817-X. OCLC 57417395.
  9. ^ Gerstner, Wulfram; Kempter, Richard; van Hemmen, J. Leo; Wagner, Hermann (1996-09-05). "A neuronal learning rule for sub-millisecond temporal coding". Nature. 383 (6595): 76–78. Bibcode:1996Natur.383...76G. doi:10.1038/383076a0. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 8779718. S2CID 4319500.
  10. ^ Zenke, Friedemann; Agnes, Everton J.; Gerstner, Wulfram (2015-04-21). "Diverse synaptic plasticity mechanisms orchestrated to form and retrieve memories in spiking neural networks". Nature Communications. 6 (1): 6922. Bibcode:2015NatCo...6.6922Z. doi:10.1038/ncomms7922. ISSN 2041-1723. PMC 4411307. PMID 25897632.
  11. ^ Clopath, Claudia; Büsing, Lars; Vasilaki, Eleni; Gerstner, Wulfram (2010-01-24). "Connectivity reflects coding: a model of voltage-based STDP with homeostasis" (PDF). Nature Neuroscience. 13 (3): 344–352. doi:10.1038/nn.2479. hdl:10044/1/21440. ISSN 1097-6256. PMID 20098420. S2CID 8046538.
  12. ^ Gerstner, Wulfram (2000-01-01). "Population Dynamics of Spiking Neurons: Fast Transients, Asynchronous States, and Locking". Neural Computation. 12 (1): 43–89. doi:10.1162/089976600300015899. ISSN 0899-7667. PMID 10636933. S2CID 7832768.
  13. ^ Pozzorini, Christian; Naud, Richard; Mensi, Skander; Gerstner, Wulfram (July 2013). "Temporal whitening by power-law adaptation in neocortical neurons". Nature Neuroscience. 16 (7): 942–948. doi:10.1038/nn.3431. ISSN 1546-1726. PMID 23749146. S2CID 1873019.
  14. ^ Jimenez Rezende, Danilo; Gerstner, Wulfram (2014-04-04). "Stochastic variational learning in recurrent spiking networks". Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience. 8: 38. doi:10.3389/fncom.2014.00038. ISSN 1662-5188. PMC 3983494. PMID 24772078.
  15. ^ Vogels, T. P.; Sprekeler, H.; Zenke, F.; Clopath, C.; Gerstner, W. (2011-11-10). "Inhibitory Plasticity Balances Excitation and Inhibition in Sensory Pathways and Memory Networks" (PDF). Science. 334 (6062): 1569–1573. Bibcode:2011Sci...334.1569V. doi:10.1126/science.1211095. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 22075724. S2CID 45134325.
  16. ^ Hennequin, Guillaume; Vogels, Tim P.; Gerstner, Wulfram (2014-06-18). "Optimal Control of Transient Dynamics in Balanced Networks Supports Generation of Complex Movements". Neuron. 82 (6): 1394–1406. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2014.04.045. ISSN 0896-6273. PMC 6364799. PMID 24945778.
  17. ^ Sheynikhovich, Denis; Chavarriaga, Ricardo; Strösslin, Thomas; Arleo, Angelo; Gerstner, Wulfram (2009-07-01). "Is there a geometric module for spatial orientation? Insights from a rodent navigation model" (PDF). Psychological Review. 116 (3): 540–566. doi:10.1037/a0016170. ISSN 1939-1471. PMID 19618986.
  18. ^ "From Mozart to Botzart: when machines write our music". phys.org. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  19. ^ "Ein Algorithmus macht Musik - Wer hat's komponiert? Maschine oder Mensch?". Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF) (in German). 2017-07-25. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  20. ^ "Ein Algorithmus lernt zu komponieren". Neue Zürcher Zeitung. 2017-07-06. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  21. ^ "Quand les algorithmes donnent le tempo". Le Temps (in French). 2017-08-25. ISSN 1423-3967. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  22. ^ Gerstner, Wulfram. (24 July 2014). Neuronal dynamics : from single neurons to networks and models of cognition. Kistler, Werner M., 1969-, Naud, Richard., Paninski, Liam. Cambridge, United Kingdom. ISBN 978-1-107-06083-8. OCLC 861774542.
  23. ^ "Neuronal Dynamics - a neuroscience textbook by Wulfram Gerstner, Werner M. Kistler, Richard Naud and Liam Paninski". neuronaldynamics.epfl.ch. Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  24. ^ "Science Magazine Masterhead". 2008-12-12. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  25. ^ "Wulfram Gerstner receives Valentino Braitenberg Award 2018 — Bernstein Netzwerk Computational Neuroscience". www.bernstein-network.de. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  26. ^ "ERC Advanced Grant 2010" (PDF). 2010-01-20. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  27. ^ "Prof. Dr. Wulfram Gerstner : Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur | Mainz". www.adwmainz.de. Retrieved 2020-09-04.

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