Anna Levina

University of Tübingen, Germany

Title: Optimization of computational capabilities by poising neuronal systems close to criticality


The idea to develop a simple low-dimensional description of the brain state in terms of appropriateness for computations is inspiring a lot of researchers to look into the closeness to the phase transition. It is hypothesized and shown in the string of theoretical and experimental papers that being close to the critical state might be beneficial.

However, our definitions and ways of determining the state are not yet suitable to reliably dissect spurious observations from the true criticality. And at the same time, the optimality of the supposed critical state is still not shown to be exploited in the neuronal systems. In my talk, I will discuss different approaches to these problems and some steps toward solutions.



Dr Anna Levina was born in the Soviet Union and studied Mathematics at St Petersburg State University. In 2004, she relocated to the University of Göttingen where she completed her doctorate in 2008. Her first postdoctoral position was at Göttingen’s Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organisation from where she transferred to the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences in Leipzig in 2011. From 2015 to 2017, Anna Levina was a Fellow at the Institute of Science and Technology in Klosterneuburg, Austria. Since April 2017, she has been pursuing her research at the University of Tübingen. Anna Levina is a recipient of the 2017 Sofja Kovalevskaja Award of the Humboldt Foundation.