Monthly
288 pp. per issue
6 x 9, illustrated
ISSN
0899-7667
E-ISSN
1530-888X
2014 Impact factor:
2.21

Neural Computation

February 1, 2006, Vol. 18, No. 2, Pages 245-282
(doi: 10.1162/089976606775093882)
© 2005 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Polychronization: Computation with Spikes
Article PDF (1.43 MB)
Abstract

We present a minimal spiking network that can polychronize, that is, exhibit reproducible time-locked but not synchronous firing patterns with millisecond precision, as in synfire braids. The network consists of cortical spiking neurons with axonal conduction delays and spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP); a ready-to-use MATLAB code is included. It exhibits sleeplike oscillations, gamma (40 Hz) rhythms, conversion of firing rates to spike timings, and other interesting regimes. Due to the interplay between the delays and STDP, the spiking neurons spontaneously self-organize into groups and generate patterns of stereotypical polychronous activity. To our surprise, the number of coexisting polychronous groups far exceeds the number of neurons in the network, resulting in an unprecedented memory capacity of the system. We speculate on the significance of polychrony to the theory of neuronal group selection (TNGS, neural Darwinism), cognitive neural computations, binding and gamma rhythm, mechanisms of attention, and consciousness as “attention to memories.”