Biological brains exhibit many interesting and complex behaviours. Understanding of the mechanisms behind brain behaviours is critical for continuing advancement in fields of research such as artificial intelligence and medicine. In particular, synchronisation of neuronal firing is associated with both improvements to and degeneration of the brain’s performance; increased synchronisation can lead to enhanced information-processing or neurological disorders such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. As a result, it is desirable to research under which conditions synchronisation arises in neural networks and the possibility of controlling its prevalence. Stochastic ensembles of FitzHugh-Nagumo elements are used to model neural networks for numerical simulations and bifurcation analysis. The FitzHugh-Nagumo model is employed because of its realistic representation of the flow of sodium and potassium ions in addition to its advantageous property of allowing phase plane dynamics to be observed. Network characteristics such as connectivity, configuration and size are explored to determine their influences on global synchronisation generation in their respective systems. Oscillations in the mean-field are used to detect the presence of synchronisation over a range of coupling strength values. To ensure simulation efficiency, coupling strengths between neurons that are identical and fixed with time are investigated initially. Such networks where the interaction strengths are fixed are referred to as homogeneously coupled. The capacity of controlling and altering behaviours produced by homogeneously coupled networks is assessed through the application of weak and strong delayed feedback independently with various time delays. To imitate learning, the coupling strengths later deviate from one another and evolve with time in networks that are referred to as heterogeneously coupled. The intensity of coupling strength fluctuations and the rate at which coupling strengths converge to a desired mean value are studied to determine their impact upon synchronisation performance. The stochastic delay differential equations governing the numerically simulated networks are then converted into a finite set of deterministic cumulant equations by virtue of the Gaussian approximation method. Cumulant equations for maximal and sub-maximal connectivity are used to generate two-parameter bifurcation diagrams on the noise intensity and coupling strength plane, which provides qualitative agreement with numerical simulations. Analysis of artificial brain networks, in respect to biological brain networks, are discussed in light of recent research in sleep theory
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.