Connecting Biological Detail with Neural Computation: Application to the Cerebellar Granule-Golgi Microcircuit
Neurophysiology and neuroanatomy limit the set of possible computations that can be performed in a brain circuit. Although detailed data on individual brain microcircuits is available in the literature, cognitive modellers seldom take these constraints into account. One reason for this is the intrinsic complexity of accounting for mechanisms when describing function. In this paper, we present multiple extensions to the Neural Engineering Framework that simplify the integration of low-level constraints such as Dale's principle and spatially constrained connectivity into high-level, functional models. We apply these techniques to a recent model of temporal representation in the Granule-Golgi microcircuit in the cerebellum, extending it towards higher degrees of biological plausibility. We perform a series of experiments to analyze the impact of these changes on a functional level. The results demonstrate that our chosen functional description can indeed be mapped onto the target microcircuit under biological constraints. Further, we gain insights into why these parameters are as observed by examining the effects of parameter changes. While the circuit discussed here only describes a small section of the brain, we hope that this work inspires similar attempts of bridging low-level biological detail and high-level function. To encourage the adoption of our methods, we published the software developed for building our model as an open-source library.
Thanks a lot! I really like the comparison of more and less detailed versions of your model! One question: did I understand it correctly that all the cerebellum is doing is the delay computation? Isn't it also supposed to do some reinforcement learning or other components of this task?