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A solution to temporal credit assignment using cell-type-specific modulatory signals

Liu, Y.H., Smith, S.J., Mihalas S., Shea-Brown E., Sumbul U., “A solution to temporal credit assignment using cell-type-specific modulatory signals”, bioRxiv, 2020.

Animals learn and form memories by jointly adjusting the efficacy of their synapses. How they efficiently solve the underlying temporal credit assignment problem remains elusive. Here, we re-analyze the mathematical basis of gradient descent learning in recurrent spiking neural networks (RSNNs) in light of the recent single-cell transcriptomic evidence for cell-type-specific local neuropeptide signaling in the cortex. Our normative theory posits an important role for the notion of neuronal cell types and local diffusive communication by enabling biologically plausible and efficient weight update. While obeying fundamental biological constraints, including separating excitatory vs inhibitory cell types and observing connection sparsity, we trained RSNNs for temporal credit assignment tasks spanning seconds and observed that the inclusion of local modulatory signaling improved learning efficiency. Our learning rule puts forth a novel form of interaction between modulatory signals and synaptic transmission. Moreover, it suggests a computationally efficient on-chip learning method for bio-inspired artificial intelligence.

Status of Research or Work: 
Ongoing
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