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  1. Aljadeff, Johnatan (Ed.)
    Neural circuits exhibit complex activity patterns, both spontaneously and evoked by external stimuli. Information encoding and learning in neural circuits depend on how well time-varying stimuli can control spontaneous network activity. We show that in firing-rate networks in the balanced state, external control of recurrent dynamics, i.e., the suppression of internally-generated chaotic variability, strongly depends on correlations in the input. A distinctive feature of balanced networks is that, because common external input is dynamically canceled by recurrent feedback, it is far more difficult to suppress chaos with common input into each neuron than through independent input. To study this phenomenon, we develop a non-stationary dynamic mean-field theory for driven networks. The theory explains how the activity statistics and the largest Lyapunov exponent depend on the frequency and amplitude of the input, recurrent coupling strength, and network size, for both common and independent input. We further show that uncorrelated inputs facilitate learning in balanced networks.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 5, 2023
  2. Soltani, Alireza (Ed.)
    Cortical circuits generate excitatory currents that must be cancelled by strong inhibition to assure stability. The resulting excitatory-inhibitory (E-I) balance can generate spontaneous irregular activity but, in standard balanced E-I models, this requires that an extremely strong feedforward bias current be included along with the recurrent excitation and inhibition. The absence of experimental evidence for such large bias currents inspired us to examine an alternative regime that exhibits asynchronous activity without requiring unrealistically large feedforward input. In these networks, irregular spontaneous activity is supported by a continually changing sparse set of neurons. To support this activity, synaptic strengths must be drawn from high-variance distributions. Unlike standard balanced networks, these sparse balance networks exhibit robust nonlinear responses to uniform inputs and non-Gaussian input statistics. Interestingly, the speed, not the size, of synaptic fluctuations dictates the degree of sparsity in the model. In addition to simulations, we provide a mean-field analysis to illustrate the properties of these networks.