DOI: 10.1101/458570Oct 31, 2018Paper

Local online learning in recurrent networks with random feedback

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
James M Murray


A longstanding challenge for computational neuroscience has been the development of biologically plausible learning rules for recurrent neural networks (RNNs) enabling the production and processing of time-dependent signals such as those that might drive movement or facilitate working memory. Classic gradient-based algorithms for training RNNs have been available for decades, but they are inconsistent with known biological features of the brain, such as causality and locality. In this work we derive an approximation to gradient-based learning that comports with these biologically motivated constraints. Specifically, the online learning rule for the synaptic weights involves only local information about the pre- and postsynaptic activities, in addition to a random feedback projection of the RNN output error. In addition to providing mathematical arguments for the effectiveness of the new learning rule, we show through simulations that it can be used to train an RNN to successfully perform a variety of tasks. Finally, to overcome the difficulty of training an RNN over a very large number of timesteps, we propose an augmented circuit architecture that allows the RNN to concatenate short-duration patterns into sequences of longer d...Continue Reading

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