Date of Award

Fall 12-15-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mathematics and Statistics

First Advisor

Dr. Remus Osan


One-dimensional neural networks comprised of large numbers of Integrate-and-Fire neurons have been widely used to model electrical activity propagation in neural slices. Despite these efforts, the vast majority of these computational models have no analytical solutions.

Consequently, my Ph.D. research focuses on a specific class of homogeneous Integrate-and-Fire neural network, for which analytical solutions of network dynamics can be derived. One crucial analytical finding is that the traveling wave acceleration quadratically depends on the instantaneous speed of the activity propagation, which means that two speed solutions exist in the activities of wave propagation: one is fast-stable and the other is slow-unstable.

Furthermore, via this property, we analytically compute temporal-spatial spiking dynamics to help gain insights into the stability mechanisms of traveling wave propagation. Indeed, the analytical solutions are in perfect agreement with the numerical solutions. This analytical method also can be applied to determine the effects induced by a non-conductive gap of brain tissue and extended to more general synaptic connectivity functions, by converting the evolution equations for network dynamics into a low-dimensional system of ordinary differential equations.

Building upon these results, we investigate how periodic inhomogeneities affect the dynamics of activity propagation. In particular, two types of periodic inhomogeneities are studied: alternating regions of additional fixed excitation and inhibition, and cosine form inhomogeneity. Of special interest are the conditions leading to propagation failure. With similar analytical procedures, explicit expressions for critical speeds of activity propagation are obtained under the influence of additional inhibition and excitation. However, an explicit formula for speed modulations is difficult to determine in the case of cosine form inhomogeneity. Instead of exact solutions from the system of equations, a series of speed approximations are constructed, rendering a higher accuracy with a higher order approximation of speed.