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Evolution and Analysis of Embodied Spiking Neural Networks Reveals Task-Specific Clusters of Effective Networks

Abstract · Apr 13, 2017 16:23 ·

fmri evolutionary cognitive neurons behavior spiking q-bio-nc cs-ne

Arxiv Abstract

  • Madhavun Candadai Vasu
  • Eduardo J. Izquierdo

Elucidating principles that underlie computation in neural networks is currently a major research topic of interest in neuroscience. Transfer Entropy (TE) is increasingly used as a tool to bridge the gap between network structure, function, and behavior in fMRI studies. Computational models allow us to bridge the gap even further by directly associating individual neuron activity with behavior. However, most computational models that have analyzed embodied behaviors have employed non-spiking neurons. On the other hand, computational models that employ spiking neural networks tend to be restricted to disembodied tasks. We show for the first time the artificial evolution and TE-analysis of embodied spiking neural networks to perform a cognitively-interesting behavior. Specifically, we evolved an agent controlled by an Izhikevich neural network to perform a visual categorization task. The smallest networks capable of performing the task were found by repeating evolutionary runs with different network sizes. Informational analysis of the best solution revealed task-specific TE-network clusters, suggesting that within-task homogeneity and across-task heterogeneity were key to behavioral success. Moreover, analysis of the ensemble of solutions revealed that task-specificity of TE-network clusters correlated with fitness. This provides an empirically testable hypothesis that links network structure to behavior.

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