Spatial representation of temporal information through spike timing dependent plasticity

Comments: 13 pages, 14 figures


We suggest a mechanism based on spike time dependent plasticity (STDP) of synapses to store, retrieve and predict temporal sequences. The mechanism is demonstrated in a model system of simplified integrate-and-fire type neurons densely connected by STDP synapses. All synapses are modified according to the so-called normal STDP rule observed in various real biological synapses. After conditioning through repeated input of a limited number of of temporal sequences the system is able to complete the temporal sequence upon receiving the input of a fraction of them. This is an example of effective unsupervised learning in an biologically realistic system. We investigate the dependence of learning success on entrainment time, system size and presence of noise. Possible applications include learning of motor sequences, recognition and prediction of temporal sensory information in the visual as well as the auditory system and late processing in the olfactory system of insects.