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Front Comput Neurosci. 2013 Apr 5;7:30. doi: 10.3389/fncom.2013.00030. eCollection 2013.

Emerging phenomena in neural networks with dynamic synapses and their computational implications.

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Granada Neurophysics Group at Institute "Carlos I" for Theoretical and Computational Physics, University of Granada Granada, Spain.


In this paper we review our research on the effect and computational role of dynamical synapses on feed-forward and recurrent neural networks. Among others, we report on the appearance of a new class of dynamical memories which result from the destabilization of learned memory attractors. This has important consequences for dynamic information processing allowing the system to sequentially access the information stored in the memories under changing stimuli. Although storage capacity of stable memories also decreases, our study demonstrated the positive effect of synaptic facilitation to recover maximum storage capacity and to enlarge the capacity of the system for memory recall in noisy conditions. Possibly, the new dynamical behavior can be associated with the voltage transitions between up and down states observed in cortical areas in the brain. We investigated the conditions for which the permanence times in the up state are power-law distributed, which is a sign for criticality, and concluded that the experimentally observed large variability of permanence times could be explained as the result of noisy dynamic synapses with large recovery times. Finally, we report how short-term synaptic processes can transmit weak signals throughout more than one frequency range in noisy neural networks, displaying a kind of stochastic multi-resonance. This effect is due to competition between activity-dependent synaptic fluctuations (due to dynamic synapses) and the existence of neuron firing threshold which adapts to the incoming mean synaptic input.


criticality in up–down cortical transitions; emergence of dynamic memories; memory storage capacity; neural stochastic multiresonances; short-term synaptic plasticity

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