Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Superposition Catastrophe

Imagine a group of neurons, a neural assembly or ensemble, to represent a feature. Suppose we have 4 of such, denoted as A, B, C, and D. Now you are in a situation where the representation of a complicated situation where all 4 of them needs to be activated, such as recognition of a blue (represented by A) monster (B), and a red (C) lobster (D). If each feature is represented by merely activating the corresponding ensemble, it would not be able to distinguish the situation against "red monster and blue lobster". This is the so called superposition catastrophe and is a big part of the binding problem. (Malsburg)

If each combination has to be represented via a single assembly, we would need astronomical number corresponding to the possible combinations of the features. Since we can certainly distinguish between red monster eating blue lobster and blue monster eating red lobster, there should be something wrong about our assumptions.
  • existence of a neural ensemble for each feature
  • temporal inseparability among combinations
Oscillation and/or synchronization have been proposed to solve the binding problem by attacking the second assumption.

1 comment:

memming said...

Holographic reduced representation is another approach.