Local online learning of coherent information

Der, Ralf
Smyth, Darragh
One of the goals of perception is to learn to respond to coherence across space, time and modality. Here we present an abstract framework for the local online unsupervised learning of this coherent information using multi-stream neural networks. The processing units distinguish between feedforward inputs projected from the environment and the lateral, contextual inputs projected from the processing units of other streams. The contextual inputs are used to guide learning towards coherent cross-stream structure. The goal of all the learning algorithms described is to maximize the predictability between each unit output and its context. Many local cost functions may be applied: e.g. mutual information, relative entropy, squared error and covariance. Theoretical and simulation results indicate that, of these, the covariance rule (1) is the only rule that specifically links and learns only those streams with coherent information, (2) can be robustly approximated by a hebbian rule, (3) is stable with input noise, no pairwise input correlations, and in the discovery of locally less informative components that are coherent globally. In accordance with the parallel nature of the biological substrate, we also show that all the rules scale up with the number of streams.
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