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Efficient coding with a population of Linear-Nonlinear neurons
yan karklin · Eero Simoncelli

Wed Dec 14 08:45 AM -- 02:59 PM (PST) @

Efficient coding provides a powerful principle for explaining early sensory coding. Most attempts to test this principle have been limited to linear, noiseless models, and when applied to natural images, have yielded oriented filters consistent with responses in primary visual cortex. Here we show that an efficient coding model that incorporates biologically realistic ingredients -- input and output noise, nonlinear response functions, and a metabolic cost on the firing rate -- predicts receptive fields and response nonlinearities similar to those observed in the retina. Specifically, we develop numerical methods for simultaneously learning the linear filters and response nonlinearities of a population of model neurons, so as to maximize information transmission subject to metabolic costs. When applied to an ensemble of natural images, the method yields filters that are center-surround and nonlinearities that are rectifying. The filters are organized into two populations, with On- and Off-centers, which independently tile the visual space. As observed in the primate retina, the Off-center neurons are more numerous and have filters with smaller spatial extent. In the absence of noise, our method reduces to a generalized version of independent components analysis, with an adapted nonlinear ``contrast'' function; in this case, the optimal filters are localized and oriented.

Author Information

yan karklin (Knewton)
Eero Simoncelli (FlatIron Institute / New York University)

Eero P. Simoncelli received the B.S. degree in Physics in 1984 from Harvard University, studied applied mathematics at Cambridge University for a year and a half, and then received the M.S. degree in 1988 and the Ph.D. degree in 1993, both in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was an Assistant Professor in the Computer and Information Science department at the University of Pennsylvania from 1993 until 1996. He moved to New York University in September of 1996, where he is currently a Professor in Neural Science, Mathematics, and Psychology. In August 2000, he became an Associate Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, under their new program in Computational Biology. In Fall 2020, he resigned his HHMI appointment to become the scientific director of the Center for Computational Neuroscience at the Flatiron Institute, of the Simons Foundation. His research interests span a wide range of topics in the representation and analysis of visual images, in both machine and biological systems.

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