Information Processing by Neuron Populations in the Central Nervous System: Mathematical Structure of Data and Operations

by   Martin N. P. Nilsson, et al.

In the intricate architecture of the mammalian central nervous system, neurons form populations. Axonal bundles communicate between these clusters using spike trains as their medium. However, these neuron populations' precise encoding and operations have yet to be discovered. In our analysis, the starting point is a state-of-the-art mechanistic model of a generic neuron endowed with plasticity. From this simple framework emerges a profound mathematical construct: The representation and manipulation of information can be precisely characterized by an algebra of finite convex cones. Furthermore, these neuron populations are not merely passive transmitters. They act as operators within this algebraic structure, mirroring the functionality of a low-level programming language. When these populations interconnect, they embody succinct yet potent algebraic expressions. These networks allow them to implement many operations, such as specialization, generalization, novelty detection, dimensionality reduction, inverse modeling, prediction, and associative memory. In broader terms, this work illuminates the potential of matrix embeddings in advancing our understanding in fields like cognitive science and AI. These embeddings enhance the capacity for concept processing and hierarchical description over their vector counterparts.


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