Perfect Associative Learning with Spike-Timing-Dependent Plasticity

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 26 (NIPS 2013)

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Christian Albers, Maren Westkott, Klaus Pawelzik


Recent extensions of the Perceptron, as e.g. the Tempotron, suggest that this theoretical concept is highly relevant also for understanding networks of spiking neurons in the brain. It is not known, however, how the computational power of the Perceptron and of its variants might be accomplished by the plasticity mechanisms of real synapses. Here we prove that spike-timing-dependent plasticity having an anti-Hebbian form for excitatory synapses as well as a spike-timing-dependent plasticity of Hebbian shape for inhibitory synapses are sufficient for realizing the original Perceptron Learning Rule if the respective plasticity mechanisms act in concert with the hyperpolarisation of the post-synaptic neurons. We also show that with these simple yet biologically realistic dynamics Tempotrons are efficiently learned. The proposed mechanism might underly the acquisition of mappings of spatio-temporal activity patterns in one area of the brain onto other spatio-temporal spike patterns in another region and of long term memories in cortex. Our results underline that learning processes in realistic networks of spiking neurons depend crucially on the interactions of synaptic plasticity mechanisms with the dynamics of participating neurons.