TY - GEN

T1 - Know thy neighbour

T2 - 23rd Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NIPS 2009

AU - Pfister, Jean Pascal

AU - Dayan, Peter

AU - Lengyel, Máté

PY - 2009

Y1 - 2009

N2 - Synapses exhibit an extraordinary degree of short-term malleability, with release probabilities and effective synaptic strengths changing markedly over multiple timescales. From the perspective of a fixed computational operation in a network, this seems like a most unacceptable degree of added variability. We suggest an alternative theory according to which short-term synaptic plasticity plays a normatively-justifiable role. This theory starts from the commonplace observation that the spiking of a neuron is an incomplete, digital, report of the analog quantity that contains all the critical information, namely its membrane potential. We suggest that a synapse solves the inverse problem of estimating the pre-synaptic membrane potential from the spikes it receives, acting as a recursive filter. We show that the dynamics of short-term synaptic depression closely resemble those required for optimal filtering, and that they indeed support high quality estimation. Under this account, the local postsynaptic potential and the level of synaptic resources track the (scaled) mean and variance of the estimated presynaptic membrane potential. We make experimentally testable predictions for how the statistics of subthreshold membrane potential fluctuations and the form of spiking non-linearity should be related to the properties of short-term plasticity in any particular cell type.

AB - Synapses exhibit an extraordinary degree of short-term malleability, with release probabilities and effective synaptic strengths changing markedly over multiple timescales. From the perspective of a fixed computational operation in a network, this seems like a most unacceptable degree of added variability. We suggest an alternative theory according to which short-term synaptic plasticity plays a normatively-justifiable role. This theory starts from the commonplace observation that the spiking of a neuron is an incomplete, digital, report of the analog quantity that contains all the critical information, namely its membrane potential. We suggest that a synapse solves the inverse problem of estimating the pre-synaptic membrane potential from the spikes it receives, acting as a recursive filter. We show that the dynamics of short-term synaptic depression closely resemble those required for optimal filtering, and that they indeed support high quality estimation. Under this account, the local postsynaptic potential and the level of synaptic resources track the (scaled) mean and variance of the estimated presynaptic membrane potential. We make experimentally testable predictions for how the statistics of subthreshold membrane potential fluctuations and the form of spiking non-linearity should be related to the properties of short-term plasticity in any particular cell type.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=77957267464&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Conference contribution

AN - SCOPUS:77957267464

SN - 9781615679119

T3 - Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 22 - Proceedings of the 2009 Conference

SP - 1464

EP - 1472

BT - Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 22 - Proceedings of the 2009 Conference

PB - Neural Information Processing Systems

Y2 - 7 December 2009 through 10 December 2009

ER -