Synthesizing network dynamics for short-term memory of impulsive inputs

Beth Anna Jones, Shi Nung Ching

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Illuminating the mechanisms that the brain uses to manage and coordinate its resources is a core question in neuroscience. In particular, circuits and networks in the brain are able to encode, store and recall large amounts of information, in the service of a wide range of functionality. How do the various dynamical mechanisms within these networks allow for such coordination? We consider the specific problem of how the dynamics of networks can enact a representation of input stimuli that is retained over time, i.e., a form of short-term memory. We utilize modeling and control-theoretic methods to approach these questions, treating the state trajectory of a dynamical system as an abstract memory trace of prior inputs. The inputs impinge on the network via a variable gain, which is to be synthesized by optimization. In order to perpetuate these memory traces of stimuli, we propose that this gain is adapted to optimize: i) the error between a ground truth representation of stimuli and the encoding of them; as well as ii) overwriting of prior information. Optimizing over these central tenets of memory, we obtain a 'policy' for adapting the input gain that is dependent on the state of the network. This derived policy yields a recurrent neural network between the policy and the neural circuits, affirming existing theories that the prefrontal cortex may hold subnetworks dedicated to working memory while actively engaging with other neural subnetworks.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2022 IEEE 61st Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2022
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781665467612
StatePublished - 2022
Event61st IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2022 - Cancun, Mexico
Duration: Dec 6 2022Dec 9 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control
ISSN (Print)0743-1546
ISSN (Electronic)2576-2370


Conference61st IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2022


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