The Role of Short-Term Synaptic Plasticity in Neural Network Spiking Dynamics and in the Learning of Multiple Distal Rewards

Start: 02/12/2014 - 4:15pm
End  : 02/12/2014 - 5:15pm


Michael O'Brien, Center for Neural and Emergent Systems, Hughes REsearch Laboratories, Malibu, CA


We assess the role of short-term synaptic plasticity in an artificial neural network constructed to emulate two important brain functions: self-sustained activity and signal propagation. We employ a widely used short-term synaptic plasticity model (STP) in a symbiotic network, in which two subnetworks with differently tuned STP behaviors are weakly coupled. This enables both self- sustained global network activity, generated by one of the subnetworks, as well as faithful signal propagation within subcircuits of the other subnetwork. Finding the parameters for a properly tuned STP network is difficult. We provide a theoretical argument for a method which boosts the probability of finding the elusive STP parameters by two orders of magnitude, as demonstrated in tests.

Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning, Shanahan B460 (basement level), Harvey Mudd College, 320 E. Foothill Blvd.

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