Apr 5, 2020

Neural computation underlying rapid learning and dynamic memory recall for sensori-motor control in insects.

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Hannes Rapp, Martin P Nawrot


Foraging is a vital behavioral task for living organisms. Behavioral strategies and abstract mathematical models thereof have been described in detail for various species. To explore the link between underlying nervous systems and abstract computational principles we present how a biologically detailed neural circuit model of the insect mushroom body implements sensory processing, learning and motor control. We focus on cast & surge strategies employed by flying insects when foraging within turbulent odor plumes. Using a synaptic plasticity rule the model rapidly learns to associate individual olfactory sensory cues paired with food in a classical conditioning paradigm. Without retraining, the system dynamically recalls memories to detect relevant cues in complex sensory scenes. Accumulation of this sensory evidence on short time-scales generates cast & surge motor commands. Our systems approach is generic and predicts that population sparseness facilitates learning, while temporal sparseness is required for dynamic memory recall and precise behavioral control.

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