Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 26 (NIPS 2013)
Fabian Sinz, Anna Stockl, Jan Grewe, Jan Benda
We present a novel non-parametric method for finding a subspace of stimulus features that contains all information about the response of a system. Our method generalizes similar approaches to this problem such as spike triggered average, spike triggered covariance, or maximally informative dimensions. Instead of maximizing the mutual information between features and responses directly, we use integral probability metrics in kernel Hilbert spaces to minimize the information between uninformative features and the combination of informative features and responses. Since estimators of these metrics access the data via kernels, are easy to compute, and exhibit good theoretical convergence properties, our method can easily be generalized to populations of neurons or spike patterns. By using a particular expansion of the mutual information, we can show that the informative features must contain all information if we can make the uninformative features independent of the rest.