KIP publications

year 2016
author(s) Thomas Pfeil and Jakob Jordan and Tom Tetzlaff and Andreas Grübl and Johannes Schemmel and Markus Diesmann and Karlheinz Meier
title Effect of Heterogeneity on Decorrelation Mechanisms in Spiking Neural Networks: A Neuromorphic-Hardware Study
KIP-Nummer HD-KIP 16-64
KIP-Gruppe(n) F9
document type Paper
source Phys. Rev. X 6 (2016) 021023
doi 10.1103/PhysRevX.6.021023
Abstract (en)

High-level brain function, such as memory, classification, or reasoning, can be realized by means of recurrent networks of simplified model neurons. Analog neuromorphic hardware constitutes a fast and energy-efficient substrate for the implementation of such neural computing architectures in technical applications and neuroscientific research. The functional performance of neural networks is often critically dependent on the level of correlations in the neural activity. In finite networks, correlations are typically inevitable due to shared presynaptic input. Recent theoretical studies have shown that inhibitory feedback, abundant in biological neural networks, can actively suppress these shared-input correlations and thereby enable neurons to fire nearly independently. For networks of spiking neurons, the decorrelating effect of inhibitory feedback has so far been explicitly demonstrated only for homogeneous networks of neurons with linear subthreshold dynamics. Theory, however, suggests that the effect is a general phenomenon, present in any system with sufficient inhibitory feedback, irrespective of the details of the network structure or the neuronal and synaptic properties. Here, we investigate the effect of network heterogeneity on correlations in sparse, random networks of inhibitory neurons with nonlinear, conductance-based synapses. Emulations of these networks on the analog neuromorphic-hardware system Spikey allow us to test the efficiency of decorrelation by inhibitory feedback in the presence of hardware-specific heterogeneities. The configurability of the hardware substrate enables us to modulate the extent of heterogeneity in a systematic manner. We selectively study the effects of shared input and recurrent connections on correlations in membrane potentials and spike trains. Our results confirm that shared-input correlations are actively suppressed by inhibitory feedback also in highly heterogeneous networks exhibiting broad, heavy-tailed firing-rate distributions. In line with former studies, cell heterogeneities reduce shared-input correlations. Overall, however, correlations in the recurrent system can increase with the level of heterogeneity as a consequence of diminished effective negative feedback.

  author   = {Pfeil, Thomas and Jordan, Jakob and Tetzlaff, Tom and Gr\"ubl, Andreas and Schemmel, Johannes and Diesmann, Markus and Meier, Karlheinz},
  title    = {Effect of Heterogeneity on Decorrelation Mechanisms in Spiking Neural Networks: A Neuromorphic-Hardware Study},
  journal  = {Phys. Rev. X},
  year     = {2016},
  volume   = {6},
  pages    = {021023},
  month    = {May},
  doi      = {10.1103/PhysRevX.6.021023},
  url      = {}
URL PhysRevX.6.021023
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