Recurrent Spiking Networks Solve Planning Tasks

Elmar Rückert, David Kappel, Daniel Tanneberg, Dejan Pecevski, Jan Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


A recurrent spiking neural network is proposed that implements planning as probabilistic inference for finite and infinite horizon tasks. The architecture splits this problem into two parts: The stochastic transient firing of the network embodies the dynamics of the planning task. With appropriate injected input this dynamics is shaped to generate high-reward state trajectories. A general class of reward-modulated plasticity rules for these afferent synapses is presented. The updates optimize the likelihood of getting a reward through a variant of an Expectation Maximization algorithm and learning is guaranteed to convergence to a local maximum. We find that the network dynamics are qualitatively similar to transient firing patterns during planning and foraging in the hippocampus of awake behaving rats. The model extends classical attractor models and provides a testable prediction on identifying modulating contextual information. In a real robot arm reaching and obstacle avoidance task the ability to represent multiple task solutions is investigated. The neural planning method with its local update rules provides the basis for future neuromorphic hardware implementations with promising potentials like large data processing abilities and early initiation of strategies to avoid dangerous situations in robot co-worker scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Article number21142
Number of pages10
JournalScientific reports (e-only)
Issue number21142
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes

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