Genkin, Alexander, Sengupta, Anirvan M., Chklovskii, Dmitri

Semi-supervised learning algorithms typically construct a weighted graph of data points to represent a manifold. However, an explicit graph representation is problematic for neural networks operating in the online setting. Here, we propose a feed-forward neural network capable of semi-supervised learning on manifolds without using an explicit graph representation. Our algorithm uses channels that represent localities on the manifold such that correlations between channels represent manifold structure. The proposed neural network has two layers. The first layer learns to build a representation of low-dimensional manifolds in the input data as proposed recently in [8]. The second learns to classify data using both occasional supervision and similarity of the manifold representation of the data. The channel carrying label information for the second layer is assumed to be "silent" most of the time. Learning in both layers is Hebbian, making our network design biologically plausible. We experimentally demonstrate the effect of semi-supervised learning on non-trivial manifolds.

Lipshutz, David, Bahroun, Yanis, Golkar, Siavash, Sengupta, Anirvan M., Chkovskii, Dmitri B.

Cortical pyramidal neurons receive inputs from multiple distinct neural populations and integrate these inputs in separate dendritic compartments. We explore the possibility that cortical microcircuits implement Canonical Correlation Analysis (CCA), an unsupervised learning method that projects the inputs onto a common subspace so as to maximize the correlations between the projections. To this end, we seek a multi-channel CCA algorithm that can be implemented in a biologically plausible neural network. For biological plausibility, we require that the network operates in the online setting and its synaptic update rules are local. Starting from a novel CCA objective function, we derive an online optimization algorithm whose optimization steps can be implemented in a single-layer neural network with multi-compartmental neurons and local non-Hebbian learning rules. We also derive an extension of our online CCA algorithm with adaptive output rank and output whitening. Interestingly, the extension maps onto a neural network whose neural architecture and synaptic updates resemble neural circuitry and synaptic plasticity observed experimentally in cortical pyramidal neurons.

Hu, Tao, Pehlevan, Cengiz, Chklovskii, Dmitri B.

Olshausen and Field (OF) proposed that neural computations in the primary visual cortex (V1) can be partially modeled by sparse dictionary learning. By minimizing the regularized representation error they derived an online algorithm, which learns Gabor-filter receptive fields from a natural image ensemble in agreement with physiological experiments. Whereas the OF algorithm can be mapped onto the dynamics and synaptic plasticity in a single-layer neural network, the derived learning rule is nonlocal - the synaptic weight update depends on the activity of neurons other than just pre- and postsynaptic ones - and hence biologically implausible. Here, to overcome this problem, we derive sparse dictionary learning from a novel cost-function - a regularized error of the symmetric factorization of the input's similarity matrix. Our algorithm maps onto a neural network of the same architecture as OF but using only biologically plausible local learning rules. When trained on natural images our network learns Gabor-filter receptive fields and reproduces the correlation among synaptic weights hard-wired in the OF network. Therefore, online symmetric matrix factorization may serve as an algorithmic theory of neural computation.

Pehlevan, Cengiz, Chklovskii, Dmitri

To make sense of the world our brains must analyze high-dimensional datasets streamed by our sensory organs. Because such analysis begins with dimensionality reduction, modelling early sensory processing requires biologically plausible online dimensionality reduction algorithms. Recently, we derived such an algorithm, termed similarity matching, from a Multidimensional Scaling (MDS) objective function. However, in the existing algorithm, the number of output dimensions is set a priori by the number of output neurons and cannot be changed. Because the number of informative dimensions in sensory inputs is variable there is a need for adaptive dimensionality reduction. Here, we derive biologically plausible dimensionality reduction algorithms which adapt the number of output dimensions to the eigenspectrum of the input covariance matrix. We formulate three objective functions which, in the offline setting, are optimized by the projections of the input dataset onto its principal subspace scaled by the eigenvalues of the output covariance matrix. In turn, the output eigenvalues are computed as i) soft-thresholded, ii) hard-thresholded, iii) equalized thresholded eigenvalues of the input covariance matrix. In the online setting, we derive the three corresponding adaptive algorithms and map them onto the dynamics of neuronal activity in networks with biologically plausible local learning rules. Remarkably, in the last two networks, neurons are divided into two classes which we identify with principal neurons and interneurons in biological circuits.

Millidge, Beren, Tschantz, Alexander, Seth, Anil K, Buckley, Christopher L

Can the powerful backpropagation of error (backprop) reinforcement learning algorithm be formulated in a manner suitable for implementation in neural circuitry? The primary challenge is to ensure that any candidate formulation uses only local information, rather than relying on global (error) signals, as in orthodox backprop. Recently several algorithms for approximating backprop using only local signals, such as predictive coding and equilibrium-prop, have been proposed. However, these algorithms typically impose other requirements which challenge biological plausibility: for example, requiring complex and precise connectivity schemes (predictive coding), or multiple sequential backwards phases with information being stored across phases (equilibrium-prop). Here, we propose a novel local algorithm, Activation Relaxation (AR), which is motivated by constructing the backpropagation gradient as the equilibrium point of a dynamical system. Our algorithm converges robustly and exactly to the correct backpropagation gradients, requires only a single type of neuron, utilises only a single backwards phase, and can perform credit assignment on arbitrary computation graphs. We illustrate these properties by training deep neural networks on visual classification tasks, and we describe simplifications to the algorithm which remove further obstacles to neurobiological implementation (for example, the weight-transport problem, and the use of nonlinear derivatives), while preserving performance.