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Noise-enhanced computation in a model of a cortical column

Mayor, Julien; Gerstner, WulframCA

Cognitive Neuroscience

Varied sensory systems use noise in order to enhance detection of weak signals. It has been conjectured in the literature that this effect, known as stochastic resonance, may take place in central cognitive processes such as memory retrieval of arithmetical multiplication. We show, in a simplified model of cortical tissue, that complex arithmetical calculations can be carried out and are enhanced in the presence of a stochastic background. The performance is shown to be positively correlated to the susceptibility of the network, defined as its sensitivity to a variation of the mean of its inputs. For nontrivial arithmetic tasks such as multiplication, stochastic resonance is a collective property of the microcircuitry of the model network.

Brain-Mind Institute and School of Computer and Communication Sciences, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

CACorresponding Author: wulfram.gerstner@epfl.ch

Received 6 May 2005; accepted 25 May 2005

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.