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  • Title: Learning Through Time in the Thalamocortical Loops
  • Author(s): O'Reilly, R. C. and Wyatte, Dean and Rohrlich, John
  • Journal: arXiv:1407.3432 [q-bio]
  • Date: 2014-07-13
  • URL: [1]

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OReillyWyatteRohrlich14 O'Reilly, R.C., Wyatte, D., and Rohrlich, J. (2014). Learning Through Time in the Thalamocortical Loops. Preprint avail at: http://arxiv.org/abs/1407.3432 pdf icon.png OReillyWyatteRohrlich14.pdf (Web)


We present a comprehensive, novel framework for understanding how the neocortex, including the thalamocortical loops through the deep layers, can support a temporal context representation in the service of predictive learning. Many have argued that predictive learning provides a compelling, powerful source of learning signals to drive the development of human intelligence: if we constantly predict what will happen next, and learn based on the discrepancies from our predictions (error-driven learning), then we can learn to improve our predictions by developing internal representations that capture the regularities of the environment (e.g., physical laws governing the time-evolution of object motions). Our version of this idea builds upon existing work with simple recurrent networks (SRN's), which have a discretely-updated temporal context representations that are a direct copy of the prior internal state representation. We argue that this discretization of temporal context updating has a number of important computational and functional advantages, and further show how the strong alpha-frequency (10hz, 100ms cycle time) oscillations in the posterior neocortex could reflect this temporal context updating. We examine a wide range of data from biology to behavior through the lens of this LeabraTI model, and find that it provides a unified account of a number of otherwise disconnected findings, all of which converge to support this new model of neocortical learning and processing. We describe an implemented model showing how predictive learning of tumbling object trajectories can facilitate object recognition with cluttered backgrounds.