May 18, 2021

Revisiting the role of synaptic plasticity and network dynamics for fast learning in spiking neural networks

Spike-based neural network models have so far not been able to reproduce the capability of the brain to learn from very few, often even from just a single example. We show that this deficiency of models disappears if one allows synaptic weights to store priors and other information that optimize the learning process, while using the network state to quickly absorb information from new examples. For that, it suffices to include biologically realistic neurons with spike frequency adaptation in the neural network model, and to optimize the learning process through meta-learning. We demonstrate this on a variety of tasks, including fast learning and deletion of attractors, adaptation of motor control to changes in the body, and solving the Morris water maze task — a paradigm for fast learning of navigation to a new goal.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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