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- Journal of machine learning research
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- National Science Foundation
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Sparse Coding Enables the Reconstruction of High-Fidelity Images and Video from Retinal Spike TrainsThe optic nerve transmits visual information to the brain as trains of discrete events, a low-power, low-bandwidth communication channel also exploited by silicon retina cameras. Extracting highfidelity visual input from retinal event trains is thus a key challenge for both computational neuroscience and neuromorphic engineering. Here, we investigate whether sparse coding can enable the reconstruction of high-fidelity images and video from retinal event trains. Our approach is analogous to compressive sensing, in which only a random subset of pixels are transmitted and the missing information is estimated via inference. We employed a variant of the Locally Competitive Algorithm to infer sparse representations from retinal event trains, using a dictionary of convolutional features optimized via stochastic gradient descent and trained in an unsupervised manner using a local Hebbian learning rule with momentum. We used an anatomically realistic retinal model with stochastic graded release from cones and bipolar cells to encode thumbnail images as spike trains arising from ON and OFF retinal ganglion cells. The spikes from each model ganglion cell were summed over a 32 msec time window, yielding a noisy rate-coded image. Analogous to how the primary visual cortex is postulated to infer features from noisy spike trains arising frommore »
Abstract We describe a stochastic, dynamical system capable of inference and learning in a probabilistic latent variable model. The most challenging problem in such models—sampling the posterior distribution over latent variables—is proposed to be solved by harnessing natural sources of stochasticity inherent in electronic and neural systems. We demonstrate this idea for a sparse coding model by deriving a continuous-time equation for inferring its latent variables via Langevin dynamics. The model parameters are learned by simultaneously evolving according to another continuous-time equation, thus bypassing the need for digital accumulators or a global clock. Moreover, we show that Langevin dynamics lead to an efficient procedure for sampling from the posterior distribution in the L0 sparse regime, where latent variables are encouraged to be set to zero as opposed to having a small L1 norm. This allows the model to properly incorporate the notion of sparsity rather than having to resort to a relaxed version of sparsity to make optimization tractable. Simulations of the proposed dynamical system on both synthetic and natural image data sets demonstrate that the model is capable of probabilistically correct inference, enabling learning of the dictionary as well as parameters of the prior.
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