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Soft-bound synaptic plasticity increases storage capacity

van Rossum, Mark C.W.; Shippi, Maria; Barrett, Adam B.

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Chair and Director/Neural Computation Research Group

Maria Shippi

Adam B. Barrett


Accurate models of synaptic plasticity are essential to understand the adaptive properties of the nervous system and for realistic models of learning and memory. Experiments have shown that synaptic plasticity depends not only on pre- and post-synaptic activity patterns, but also on the strength of the connection itself. Namely, weaker synapses are more easily strengthened than already strong ones. This so called soft-bound plasticity automatically constrains the synaptic strengths. It is known that this has important consequences for the dynamics of plasticity and the synaptic weight distribution, but its impact on information storage is unknown. In this modeling study we introduce an information theoretic framework to analyse memory storage in an online learning setting. We show that soft-bound plasticity increases a variety of performance criteria by about 18% over hard-bound plasticity, and likely maximizes the storage capacity of synapses.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 24, 2012
Publication Date Dec 20, 2012
Deposit Date Feb 7, 2018
Publicly Available Date Feb 7, 2018
Journal PLoS Computational Biology
Print ISSN 1553-734X
Electronic ISSN 1553-7358
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 12
Article Number e1002836
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information van Rossum MCW, Shippi M, Barrett AB (2012) Soft-bound Synaptic Plasticity Increases Storage Capacity. PLoS Comput Biol 8(12): e1002836.


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