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A single spike suffices: the simplest form of stochastic resonance in model neurons

Stemmler, Martin (1996) A single spike suffices: the simplest form of stochastic resonance in model neurons. Network: Computation in Neural Systems, 7 (4). pp. 687-716. ISSN 0954-898X. doi:10.1088/0954-898X_7_4_005.

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Input noise, defined as the root mean square of the fluctuations in the input, typically limits the performance of any system in engineering or biology. We show that three different performance measures scale identically as a function of the noise in a simple model of neuronal spiking that has both a voltage and current threshold. These performance measures are: the probability of correctly detecting a constant input in a limited time, the signal-to-noise ratio in response to sinusoidal input, and the mutual information between an arbitrarily varying input and the output spike train of the model neuron. Of these, detecting a constant signal is the simplest and most fundamental quantity. For subthreshold signals, the model exhibits stochastic resonance, a non-zero noise amplitude that optimally enhances signal detection. In this case, noise paradoxically does not limit, but instead improves performance. This resonance arises through the conjunction of two competing mechanisms: the noise-induced linearization (‘dithering’) of the model's firing rate and the increase in the variability of the number of spikes in the output. Even though the noise amplitude dwarfs the signal, detection of a weak constant signal using stochastic resonance is still possible when the signal elicits on average only one additional spike. Stochastic resonance could thus play a role in neurobiological sensory systems, where speed is of the utmost importance and averaging over many individual spikes is not possible.

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Stemmler, Martin0000-0002-9040-0475
Additional Information:© 1996 lOP Publishing Ltd Received 5 March 1996, in final form 4 June 1996. The author is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellow. Further funding was provided by grants to Christof Koch from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation, and the Center for Neuromorphic Systems Engineering as a part of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center Program. The investigation into issues relating to stochastic resonance in integrateand- fire units was prompted by computational modelling work done in collaboration with Dr Marius Usher and Dr Ernst Niebur, whose constructive criticism is gratefully acknowledged. I should like to thank my brother Robin, Dr Adi Bulsara and Gary Holt for carefully reading this manuscript, and Dr Christof Koch for his enthusiastic reception of the ideas put forth herein.
Group:Koch Laboratory (KLAB)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
National Institute of Mental HealthUNSPECIFIED
Office of Naval ResearchUNSPECIFIED
Center for Neuromorphic Systems Engineering, CaltechUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130816-103230431
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:40523
Deposited By: KLAB Import
Deposited On:31 Oct 2008 00:44
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:49

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