General differential Hebbian learning: Capturing temporal relations between events in neural networks and the brain

Learning in biologically relevant neural-network models usually relies on Hebb learning rules. The typical implementations of these rules change the synaptic strength on the basis of the co-occurrence of the neural events taking place at a certain time in the pre- and postsynaptic neurons. Differential Hebbian learning (DHL) rules, instead, are able to update the synapse by taking into account the temporal relation, captured with derivatives, between the neural events happening in the recent past. The few DHL rules proposed so far can update the synaptic weights only in few ways: this is a limitation for the study of dynamical neurons and neural-network models. Moreover, empirical evidence on brain spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) shows that different neurons express a surprisingly rich repertoire of different learning processes going far beyond existing DHL rules. This opens up a second problem of how capturing such processes with DHL rules. Here we propose a general DHL (G-DHL) rule generating the existing rules and many others. The rule has a high expressiveness as it combines in different ways the pre-and post-synaptic neuron signals and derivatives. The rule flexibility is shown by applying it to various signals of artificial neurons and by fitting several different STDP experimental data sets. To these purposes, we propose techniques to pre-process the neural signals and capture the temporal relations between the neural events of interest. We also propose a procedure to automatically identify the rule components and parameters that best fit different STDP data sets, and show how the identified components might be used to heuristically guide the search of the biophysical mechanisms underlying STDP. Overall, the results show that the G-DHL rule represents a useful means to study time-sensitive learning processes in both artificial neural networks and brain.

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Zappacosta, Stefano
Mannella, Francesco
Mirolli, Marco
Baldassarre, Gianluca
Public Library of Science,, San Francisco, CA , Stati Uniti d'America
PLOS computational biology (Online) 14 (2018). doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006227
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Zappacosta, Stefano; Mannella, Francesco; Mirolli, Marco; Baldassarre, Gianluca/titolo:General differential Hebbian learning: Capturing temporal relations between events in neural networks and the brain/doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.
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Ritratto di Marco Mirolli
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Ritratto di Francesco Mannella
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