May 2018, Vol. 30, No. 5, Pages 1258-1295
© 2018 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Pattern Storage, Bifurcations, and Groupwise Correlation Structure of an Exactly Solvable Asymmetric Neural Network Model
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Despite their biological plausibility, neural network models with asymmetric weights are rarely solved analytically, and closed-form solutions are available only in some limiting cases or in some mean-field approximations. We found exact analytical solutions of an asymmetric spin model of neural networks with arbitrary size without resorting to any approximation, and we comprehensively studied its dynamical and statistical properties. The network had discrete time evolution equations and binary firing rates, and it could be driven by noise with any distribution. We found analytical expressions of the conditional and stationary joint probability distributions of the membrane potentials and the firing rates. By manipulating the conditional probability distribution of the firing rates, we extend to stochastic networks the associating learning rule previously introduced by Personnaz and coworkers. The new learning rule allowed the safe storage, under the presence of noise, of point and cyclic attractors, with useful implications for content-addressable memories. Furthermore, we studied the bifurcation structure of the network dynamics in the zero-noise limit. We analytically derived examples of the codimension 1 and codimension 2 bifurcation diagrams of the network, which describe how the neuronal dynamics changes with the external stimuli. This showed that the network may undergo transitions among multistable regimes, oscillatory behavior elicited by asymmetric synaptic connections, and various forms of spontaneous symmetry breaking. We also calculated analytically groupwise correlations of neural activity in the network in the stationary regime. This revealed neuronal regimes where, statistically, the membrane potentials and the firing rates are either synchronous or asynchronous. Our results are valid for networks with any number of neurons, although our equations can be realistically solved only for small networks. For completeness, we also derived the network equations in the thermodynamic limit of infinite network size and we analytically studied their local bifurcations. All the analytical results were extensively validated by numerical simulations.