Rapid Visual Processing using Spike Asynchrony

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 9 (NIPS 1996)

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Simon Thorpe, Jacques Gautrais


We have investigated the possibility that rapid processing in the visual system could be achieved by using the order of firing in different neurones as a code, rather than more conventional firing rate schemes. Using SPIKENET, a neural net simulator based on integrate-and-fire neurones and in which neurones in the input layer function as analog(cid:173) to-delay converters, we have modeled the initial stages of visual processing. Initial results are extremely promising. Even with activity in retinal output cells limited to one spike per neuron per image (effectively ruling out any form of rate coding), sophisticated processing based on asynchronous activation was nonetheless possible.