Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 11 (NIPS 1998)
Gal Chechik, Isaac Meilijson, Eytan Ruppin
Human and animal studies show that mammalian brain undergoes massive synaptic pruning during childhood , removing about half of the synapses until puberty. We have previously shown that main(cid:173) taining network memory performance while synapses are deleted, requires that synapses are properly modified and pruned, remov(cid:173) ing the weaker synapses. We now show that neuronal regulation , a mechanism recently observed to maintain the average neuronal in(cid:173) put field , results in weight-dependent synaptic modification . Under the correct range of the degradation dimension and synaptic up(cid:173) per bound, neuronal regulation removes the weaker synapses and judiciously modifies the remaining synapses . It implements near optimal synaptic modification, and maintains the memory perfor(cid:173) mance of a network undergoing massive synaptic pruning. Thus , this paper shows that in addition to the known effects of Hebbian changes, neuronal regulation may play an important role in the self-organization of brain networks during development.