Willy Wong 

A.R.C.T., B.Sc. (Toronto), M.Sc. (Toronto), Ph.D. (Toronto)


Professor, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering

 

Contact:

Edward S. Rogers Sr. Dept. of

Electrical and Computer Engineering

University of Toronto 

10 King's College Rd. 

Toronto, Ontario 

M5S 3G4, CANADA 

 

E-mail me at: willy [dot] wong [at] utoronto [dot] ca 


Office: BA7110 (Bahen) 

(Click here for map and look for Bahen near St. George and College.)


Cross appointments (status only):

- Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering 

- Collaborative Program in Neuroscience 


Visiting positions:

Kyushu University, ATR Advanced Telecommunications Research, IPO Eindhoven University of Technology, Cambridge University, Toyama Prefectural University


Research interests:

My research interest lies in theoretical neuroscience/neuroengineering and its application to the understanding brain mechanism and function. I apply mathematics and physics to the modelling of biological systems. Some of my work has application to the assessment of neurological disease and the development of medical assistive devices.


What keeps me up at night:

This is a preprint highlighting a research question I have been working on for the past 30 years since I was an undergraduate student. This work deals with the principles that underlie sensory function. The idea is to develop a fully detailed theory about how the sensory system processes information. At the heart of this approach is a single equation of information which allows us to calculate the sensory response measured from a neuron to any time-varying sensory intensity input. You can read it here.


The theory also predicts a new, as of yet undiscovered property of sensory adaptation! Nobel Laureate Lord Adrian discovered the action potential almost a hundred years ago. During that time, there have been countless studies (including measurements by Adrian himself) that have measured sensory adaptation. Could Adrian's studies have missed a fundamental observation underlying neural adaptation? My theory predicts that there exists a simple and elegant relationship governing the spontaneous, peak and subsequent steady-state activity: that the steady-state activity is the geometric mean of the spontaneous and peak activities. This simple equation works as well in proprioception and touch (in two of Adrian's original recordings) as it does in taste and smell. It work as well in fish as it does in reptiles and mammals, in fibres with low and high spontaneous activity. It is likely a universal equation. This result will likely change the entire course of neuroscience as it shows, in ways that the Hodgkin-Huxley equation cannot do easily, that a simple, universal mathematical structure underlies the functioning of the nervous system. You can read it here.


Keywords: theoretical and computational neural systems, information theory, psychophysics, acoustics


Publications: You can find a list of my publications at here.


Support:

My work has been supported by a number of agencies including Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and Advanced Telecommunications Research (ATR).


Courses:

CSC 190 (Computer Algorithms, Data Structures and Languages)

ECE 212 (Circuit Analysis)

ECE 221 (Electric and Magnetic Fields)

ECE 302 (Probability and Applications)

ECE 446 (Sensory Communication)

ECE 1774 (Sensory Cybernetics) 

PHY 335 (Quantum Mechanics for ECE)


Useful and fun stuff:

See here.