I spoke to Mathematics in NUI Galway on the 19 January 2012 about variation in spike times. It was a great seminar in that most of the department seems to have turned up, I love departments that have a tradition where everyone goes to the main departmental seminar even if the field is very different from their own. The questions were very good too; there was a discussion of the algorithm for calculating the Victor-Purpura metric, there was a suggestion of a method which was linear in the number of spikes, rather than quadratic (*). Another question asked whether the algorithm had been tested by putting jitter in artificially to a single spike train and then testing to see if the artificial jitter could be recovered. I answered that there is no good model for adding noise to a spike train, in fact, that’s something we are thinking about; but it is likely we will be asked to do something like this by the referees for the paper.
Of course, Galway is my alma mater, which made the talk extra fun.
(*) The idea is that you would choose one spike train and look at spikes from the other were within 2/q of it, with some protocol based on proximity for decided which spikes to pair up if this was ambiguous.