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  1. Convolutional neural networks (CNNs), a class of deep learning models, have experienced recent success in modeling sensory cortices and retinal circuits through optimizing performance on machine learning tasks, otherwise known as task optimization. Previous research has shown task-optimized CNNs to be capable of providing explanations as to why the retina efficiently encodes natural stimuli and how certain retinal cell types are involved in efficient encoding. In our work, we sought to use task-optimized CNNs as a means of explaining computational mechanisms responsible for motion-selective retinal circuits. We designed a biologically constrained CNN and optimized its performance on a motion-classification task.more »We drew inspiration from psychophysics, deep learning, and systems neuroscience literature to develop a toolbox of methods to reverse engineer the computational mechanisms learned in our model. Through reverse engineering our model, we proposed a computational mechanism in which direction-selective ganglion cells and starburst amacrine cells, both experimentally observed retinal cell types, emerge in our model to discriminate among moving stimuli. This emergence suggests that direction-selective circuits in the retina are ecologically designed to robustly discriminate among moving stimuli. Our results and methods also provide a framework for how to build more interpretable deep learning models and how to understand them.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  3. Convolutional neural networks (CNN) are an emerging technique in modeling neural circuits and have been shown to converge to biologically plausible functionality in cortical circuits via task-optimization. This functionality has not been observed in CNN models of retinal circuits via task-optimization. We sought to observe this convergence in retinal circuits by designing a biologically inspired CNN model of a motion-detection retinal circuit and optimizing it to solve a motion-classification task. The learned weights and parameters indicated that the CNN converged to direction-sensitive ganglion and amacrine cells, cell types that have been observed in biology, and provided evidence that task-optimization ismore »a fair method of building retinal models. The analysis used to understand the functionality of our CNN also indicates that biologically constrained deep learning models are easier to reason about their underlying mechanisms than traditional deep learning models.« less
  4. Convolutional neural networks (CNN) are an emerging technique in modeling neural circuits and have been shown to converge to biologically plausible functionality in cortical circuits via task-optimization. This functionality has not been observed in CNN models of retinal circuits via task-optimization. We sought to observe this convergence in retinal circuits by designing a biologically inspired CNN model of a motion-detection retinal circuit and optimizing it to solve a motion-classification task. The learned weights and parameters indicated that the CNN converged to direction-sensitive ganglion and amacrine cells, cell types that have been observed in biology, and provided evidence that task-optimization ismore »a fair method of building retinal models. The analysis used to understand the functionality of our CNN also indicates that biologically constrained deep learning models are easier to reason about their underlying mechanisms than traditional deep learning models.« less
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  6. Abstract The EXO-200 experiment searched for neutrinoless double-beta decay of 136 Xe with a single-phase liquid xenon detector. It used an active mass of 110 kg of 80.6%-enriched liquid xenon in an ultra-low background time projection chamber with ionization and scintillation detection and readout. This paper describes the design and performance of the various support systems necessary for detector operation, including cryogenics, xenon handling, and controls. Novel features of the system were driven by the need to protect the thin-walled detector chamber containing the liquid xenon, to achieve high chemical purity of the Xe, and to maintain thermal uniformity acrossmore »the detector.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  7. Abstract The nEXO neutrinoless double beta (0 νββ ) decay experiment is designed to use a time projection chamber and 5000 kg of isotopically enriched liquid xenon to search for the decay in 136 Xe. Progress in the detector design, paired with higher fidelity in its simulation and an advanced data analysis, based on the one used for the final results of EXO-200, produce a sensitivity prediction that exceeds the half-life of 10 28 years. Specifically, improvements have been made in the understanding of production of scintillation photons and charge as well as of their transport and reconstruction in the detector.more »The more detailed knowledge of the detector construction has been paired with more assays for trace radioactivity in different materials. In particular, the use of custom electroformed copper is now incorporated in the design, leading to a substantial reduction in backgrounds from the intrinsic radioactivity of detector materials. Furthermore, a number of assumptions from previous sensitivity projections have gained further support from interim work validating the nEXO experiment concept. Together these improvements and updates suggest that the nEXO experiment will reach a half-life sensitivity of 1.35 × 10 28 yr at 90% confidence level in 10 years of data taking, covering the parameter space associated with the inverted neutrino mass ordering, along with a significant portion of the parameter space for the normal ordering scenario, for almost all nuclear matrix elements. The effects of backgrounds deviating from the nominal values used for the projections are also illustrated, concluding that the nEXO design is robust against a number of imperfections of the model.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 3, 2022