In this page, I quote from of the EFPL that "A neocortical column contains several thousand neurons interconnected in a precise and intricate manner." (The page with quote gone by now). I tried to ask their leader, Markram, about it.
Below is Henry Markram's response to my e-mail (exact text). Less blunt than the quote above, but still tries to mislead. "characteristic pattern" is vague enough that with some plausible interpretations it is not false, but the natural interpretation of "very characteristic pattern" suggests that you can predict connections from one circuit to another pretty accurately, which is false.
[21 jan 2005] He may have a change of heart. In this new article (Kalisman, Silberberg an Markram, PNAS | January 18, 2005 | vol. 102 | no. 3 | 880-885) they claim to "..provide the first direct experimental evidence for a tabula rasa-like structural matrix between neocortical pyramidal neurons..". So maybe there isn't a specifc plan? Interestingly, the statement about "..interconnected in a precise.." is still in their web page, even in their newer page.
From: Henry Markram
To: Yehouda Harpaz Subject: Re: "precise interconnections" Date: Tue, 01 Apr 2003 12:40:52 +0200 Dear Yehouda, The neocortical microcircuit is constructed with synaptic connections (defined as several synaptic contacts) between neurons exhibiting a very characteristic pattern according to the types of neurons connected. There is also a non-random selection of target cells by any particular cell which is characteristic. So there is clearly a specific plan - just how precise it is we still do not know. All the best, Henry > Dear Professor Henry Markram, > > I just read this in your page http://sv.epfl.ch/sv_LNMC.html : > > A neocortical column contains several thousand neurons > interconnected in a precise and intricate manner. > > What does "precise" mean here? Does it mean the interconnections > follow some specific plan? > > Thanks, > > Yehouda Harpaz > >