Grandmother Cells and Spiking Neural Networks

Friday 18 May 2018 at 13:00 | Senior Common Room, Level 2 (2D17), Priory Road Complex

Simon Thorpe, Director of the CerCo UMR 5549 (CNRS-UT3)

How can the brain store sensory memories that can last a lifetime? I will argue that if neurones can be made so selective that they remain silent unless they are presented with something close to the original stimuli (effectively Grandmother cells), they can keep their selectivity for very long periods. This suggests that the long term memory store may consist of large numbers of silent neurones (neocortical dark matter). I will describe some recent research showing that both the visual and auditory systems can store long lasting sensory memories  with only a small number of repeats. We have also some suggestions for Spike-Time Dependent Plasticity Rules that are capable of allowing this sort of rapid sensory learning.