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Coding with transient trajectories in recurrent neural networks

Abstract : Following a stimulus, the neural response typically strongly varies in time and across neurons before settling to a steady-state. While classical population coding theory disregards the temporal dimension, recent works have argued that trajectories of transient activity can be particularly informative about stimulus identity and may form the basis of computations through dynamics. Yet the dynamical mechanisms needed to generate a population code based on transient trajectories have not been fully elucidated. Here we examine transient coding in a broad class of high-dimensional linear networks of recurrently connected units. We start by reviewing a well-known result that leads to a distinction between two classes of networks: networks in which all inputs lead to weak, decaying transients, and networks in which specific inputs elicit amplified transient responses and are mapped onto output states during the dynamics. Theses two classes are simply distinguished based on the spectrum of the symmetric part of the connectivity matrix. For the second class of networks, which is a sub-class of non-normal networks, we provide a procedure to identify transiently amplified inputs and the corresponding readouts. We first apply these results to standard randomly-connected and two-population networks. We then build minimal, low-rank networks that robustly implement trajectories mapping a specific input onto a specific orthogonal output state. Finally, we demonstrate that the capacity of the obtained networks increases proportionally with their size.
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https://www.hal.inserm.fr/inserm-02515674
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Submitted on : Monday, March 23, 2020 - 3:36:23 PM
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Giulio Bondanelli, Srdjan Ostojic. Coding with transient trajectories in recurrent neural networks. PLoS Computational Biology, Public Library of Science, 2020, 16 (2), pp.e1007655. ⟨10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007655⟩. ⟨inserm-02515674⟩

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