Post and pre-compensatory Hebbian learning for categorisation


A system with some degree of biological plausibility is developed to categorise items from a widely used machine learning benchmark. The system uses fatiguing leaky integrate and fire neurons, a relatively coarse point model that roughly duplicates biological spiking properties; this allows spontaneous firing based on hypo-fatigue so that neurons not directly stimulated by the environment may be included in the circuit. A novel compensatory Hebbian learning algorithm is used that considers the total synaptic weight coming into a neuron. The network is unsupervised and entirely self-organising. This is relatively effective as a machine learning algorithm, categorising with just neurons, and the performance is comparable with a Kohonen map. However the learning algorithm is not stable, and behaviour decays as length of training increases. Variables including learning rate, inhibition and topology are explored leading to stable systems driven by the environment. The model is thus a reasonable next step toward a full neural memory model.

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  1. 1.

    This elevated firing in the internal subnets contrasts with the firing in those nets when inhibition is added. Figure 5c, d reflect the firing behaviour when extra inhibition is added (see “Homeostasis” section).

  2. 2.

    It should be noted that the three input task is different, and naturally performance will be lower as there is less input. Performance on the full twofold task at 20,000 cycles with 100 nets measuring by firing is 79.65 %.


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Thanks to Zhijun Yang and Dan Diaper for comments on this paper.

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Correspondence to Christian R. Huyck.

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Huyck, C.R., Mitchell, I.G. Post and pre-compensatory Hebbian learning for categorisation. Cogn Neurodyn 8, 299–311 (2014).

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  • Compensatory Hebbian learning
  • Categorisation
  • Spontaneous neural spiking
  • Neural fatigue
  • Point neural model
  • Self-organisation