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Neural Netw. 2001 Jul-Sep;14(6-7):737-53.

Neural timing nets.

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Eaton Peabody Laboratory of Auditory Physiology, Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, Boston 02114, USA.


Formulations of artificial neural networks are directly related to assumptions about neural coding in the brain. Traditional connectionist networks assume channel-based rate coding, while time-delay networks convert temporally-coded inputs into rate-coded outputs. Neural timing nets that operate on time structured input spike trains to produce meaningful time-structured outputs are proposed. Basic computational properties of simple feedforward and recurrent timing nets are outlined and applied to auditory computations. Feed-forward timing nets consist of arrays of coincidence detectors connected via tapped delay lines. These temporal sieves extract common spike patterns in their inputs that can subserve extraction of common fundamental frequencies (periodicity pitch) and common spectrum (timbre). Feedforward timing nets can also be used to separate time-shifted patterns, fusing patterns with similar internal temporal structure and spatially segregating different ones. Simple recurrent timing nets consisting of arrays of delay loops amplify and separate recurring time patterns. Single- and multichannel recurrent timing nets are presented that demonstrate the separation of concurrent, double vowels. Timing nets constitute a new and general neural network strategy for performing temporal computations on neural spike trains: extraction of common periodicities, detection of recurring temporal patterns, and formation and separation of invariant spike patterns that subserve auditory objects.

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