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      Dynamic Adaptive Computation: Tuning network states to task requirements

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          Abstract

          Neural circuits are able to perform computations under very diverse conditions and requirements. The required computations impose clear constraints on their fine-tuning: a rapid and maximally informative response to stimuli in general requires decorrelated baseline neural activity. Such network dynamics is known as asynchronous-irregular. In contrast, spatio-temporal integration of information requires maintenance and transfer of stimulus information over extended time periods. This can be realized at criticality, a phase transition where correlations, sensitivity and integration time diverge. Being able to flexibly switch, or even combine the above properties in a task-dependent manner would present a clear functional advantage. We propose that cortex operates in a "reverberating regime" because it is particularly favorable for ready adaptation of computational properties to context and task. This reverberating regime enables cortical networks to interpolate between the asynchronous-irregular and the critical state by small changes in effective synaptic strength or excitation-inhibition ratio. These changes directly adapt computational properties, including sensitivity, amplification, integration time and correlation length within the local network. We review recent converging evidence that cortex in vivo operates in the reverberating regime, and that various cortical areas have adapted their integration times to processing requirements. In addition, we propose that neuromodulation enables a fine-tuning of the network, so that local circuits can either decorrelate or integrate, and quench or maintain their input depending on task. We argue that this task-dependent tuning, which we call "dynamic adaptive computation", presents a central organization principle of cortical networks and discuss first experimental evidence.

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          Most cited references 51

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          Statistical-Mechanical Theory of Irreversible Processes. I. General Theory and Simple Applications to Magnetic and Conduction Problems

           Ryogo Kubo (1957)
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            The free-energy principle: a unified brain theory?

             Karl Friston (2010)
            A free-energy principle has been proposed recently that accounts for action, perception and learning. This Review looks at some key brain theories in the biological (for example, neural Darwinism) and physical (for example, information theory and optimal control theory) sciences from the free-energy perspective. Crucially, one key theme runs through each of these theories - optimization. Furthermore, if we look closely at what is optimized, the same quantity keeps emerging, namely value (expected reward, expected utility) or its complement, surprise (prediction error, expected cost). This is the quantity that is optimized under the free-energy principle, which suggests that several global brain theories might be unified within a free-energy framework.
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              Real-time computing without stable states: a new framework for neural computation based on perturbations.

              A key challenge for neural modeling is to explain how a continuous stream of multimodal input from a rapidly changing environment can be processed by stereotypical recurrent circuits of integrate-and-fire neurons in real time. We propose a new computational model for real-time computing on time-varying input that provides an alternative to paradigms based on Turing machines or attractor neural networks. It does not require a task-dependent construction of neural circuits. Instead, it is based on principles of high-dimensional dynamical systems in combination with statistical learning theory and can be implemented on generic evolved or found recurrent circuitry. It is shown that the inherent transient dynamics of the high-dimensional dynamical system formed by a sufficiently large and heterogeneous neural circuit may serve as universal analog fading memory. Readout neurons can learn to extract in real time from the current state of such recurrent neural circuit information about current and past inputs that may be needed for diverse tasks. Stable internal states are not required for giving a stable output, since transient internal states can be transformed by readout neurons into stable target outputs due to the high dimensionality of the dynamical system. Our approach is based on a rigorous computational model, the liquid state machine, that, unlike Turing machines, does not require sequential transitions between well-defined discrete internal states. It is supported, as the Turing machine is, by rigorous mathematical results that predict universal computational power under idealized conditions, but for the biologically more realistic scenario of real-time processing of time-varying inputs. Our approach provides new perspectives for the interpretation of neural coding, the design of experiments and data analysis in neurophysiology, and the solution of problems in robotics and neurotechnology.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                20 September 2018
                1809.07550

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

                Custom metadata
                6 pages + references, 2 figures
                q-bio.NC nlin.AO

                Neurosciences, Nonlinear & Complex systems

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