Will the penalty taker shoot for the right, left or center of the football goal? Professional goalkeepers know that they must take into consideration as much information as possible to prevent the score: the history of the rival player, the position of the taker before contact, and so on. By doing so, goalkeepers are in fact generating a model to improve their prediction about how to stop the hit, though they might not even realize the cognitive process at play. This general idea —that one could call the Goalkeeper’s Dilemma— is potentially the basis of a renewed contribution to the understanding of brain functioning, at least according to members of an ongoing research project at FAPESP’s Research, Innovation and Dissemination Center for Neuromathematics (RIDC NeuroMat).
NeuroMat has launched a strategic roadmap to direct research, technology-transfer and scientific-dissemination activities until 2018. NeuroMat is the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)’s Research, Innovation and Dissemination Center for Neuromathematics, created in 2013 and hosted at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. The general goal of this project that probabilist Antonio Galves leads since its inception is to devise the new mathematics that are needed to make sense of the large, continuous inflow of research results neurobiology generates.
Full text in Portuguese.
by Antonio Carlos Roque*
To make sense of neural connectivity is among the key challenges in neuroscience. This remains fundamentally a neuromathematical challenge, to the extent that the mathematical theory to understand patterns of connectivity is still to be made, but also also a communicational challenge, since it requires the bridging of relevant but still unconnected fields, such as experimental neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, functional imaging, probability, statistics and computer science. These two challenges are the core of the scientific project of FAPESP’s Research, Innovation and Dissemination Center for Neuromathematics (RIDC NeuroMat), which held from November 23 to 27 the workshop “Random Graphs in the Brain,” at the University of São Paulo, Brazil.