A.R.C.T., B.Sc. (Toronto), M.Sc. (Toronto), Ph.D. (Toronto)
Professor, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Edward S. Rogers Sr. Dept. of
Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Toronto
10 King's College Rd.
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 Biomedical Engineering
- Collaborative Program in Neuroscience
Kyushu University, ATR Advanced Telecommunications Research, IPO Eindhoven University of Technology, Cambridge University, Toyama Prefectural University
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 all-or-nothing property of the nervous system almost a hundred years ago. During that time, there have been countless studies (including measurements by Adrian himself) that have measured sensory adaptation -- adaptation governs how sensory signals gradually fade away with time (think adapting to the sweetness of juice). 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.
What we are also known for: My students and I also had a small part in helping Canada during the first wave of the pandemic in March 2020. Read about it here.
Keywords: Theoretical and computational neuroscience/engineering, information theory, psychophysics, acoustics
Publications: You can find a list of my publications at here.
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).
CSC 190 (Computer Algorithms, Data Structures and Languages)
ECE 212 (Circuit Analysis)
ECE 216 (Signals and Systems)
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: