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Models of associative memory with discrete state synapses learn new memories by forgetting old ones. In contrast to non-integrative models of synaptic plasticity, models with integrative, filter-based synapses exhibit an initial rise in the fidelity of recall of stored memories. This rise to a peak is driven by a transient process and is then followed by a return to equilibrium. In a series of papers, we have employed a first passage time (FPT) approach to define and study memory lifetimes, incrementally developing our methods, from both simple and complex binary-strength synapses to simple multistate synapses. Here, we complete this work by analyzing FPT memory lifetimes in multistate, filter-based synapses. To achieve this, we integrate out the internal filter states so that we can work with transitions only in synaptic strength. We then generalize results on polysynaptic generating functions from binary strength to multistate synapses, allowing us to examine the dynamics of synaptic strength changes in an ensemble of synapses rather than just a single synapse. To derive analytical results for FPT memory lifetimes, we partition the synaptic dynamics into two distinct phases: the first, pre-peak phase studied with a drift-only approximation, and the second, post-peak phase studied with approximations to the full strength transition probabilities. These approximations capture the underlying dynamics very well, as demonstrated by the extremely good agreement between results obtained by simulating our model and results obtained from the Fokker-Planck or integral equation approaches to FPT processes.


Terry Elliott. First Passage Time Memory Lifetimes for Multistate, Filter-Based Synapses. Neural computation. 2020 Jun;32(6):1069-1143

PMID: 32343647

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