Unsupervised Learning Facilitates Neural Coordination Across the Functional Clusters of the C. elegans Connectome

Alejandro Morales and Tom Froese

Front. Robot. AI, 02 April 2020


Modeling of complex adaptive systems has revealed a still poorly understood benefit of unsupervised learning: when neural networks are enabled to form an associative memory of a large set of their own attractor configurations, they begin to reorganize their connectivity in a direction that minimizes the coordination constraints posed by the initial network architecture. This self-optimization process has been replicated in various neural network formalisms, but it is still unclear whether it can be applied to biologically more realistic network topologies and scaled up to larger networks. Here we continue our efforts to respond to these challenges by demonstrating the process on the connectome of the widely studied nematode worm C. elegans. We extend our previous work by considering the contributions made by hierarchical partitions of the connectome that form functional clusters, and we explore possible beneficial effects of inter-cluster inhibitory connections. We conclude that the self-optimization process can be applied to neural network topologies characterized by greater biological realism, and that long-range inhibitory connections can facilitate the generalization capacity of the process.

Source: www.frontiersin.org