Activity-dependent Synaptic Plasticity

A NIPS*2001 Workshop organized by Larry Abbott and Paul Munro

List of Relevant Readings



Two years ago, we hosted a workshop on spike-timing dependent plasticity (STDP), at which we gathered theoreticians and experimentalists for a very stimulating one-day workshop. In this workshop we propose to expand the theme to include both spike-dependent and rate-dependent models. Again, we will discuss both laboratory data and theoretical approaches. While the mathematical and cognitive aspects of rate-based Hebb-like rules have been broadly explored, relatively little is known about the possible role of STDP at the computational level. Hebbian learning in neural networks requires both correlation-based synaptic plasticity and a mechanism that induces competition between different synapses. Spike-timing-dependent synaptic plasticity is especially interesting because it combines both of these elements in a single synaptic modification rule. Some recent work has examined the possibility that STDP may underlie older models, such as Hopfield networks or the BCM rule. Temporally dependent synaptic plasticity is attracting a rapidly growing amount of attention in the computational neuroscience community. The change in synaptic efficacy arising from this form of plasticity is highly sensitive to temporal correlations between different presynaptic spike trains. Furthermore, it can generate asymmetric and directionally selective receptive fields, a result supported by experiments on experience-dependent modifications of hippocampal place fields. Finally, spike-timing-dependent plasticity automatically balances excitation and inhibition producing a state in which neuronal responses are rapid but highly variable. The major goals of the workshop are:
  1. To review current experimental results on spike-timing-dependent synaptic plasticity and related effects.
  2. To discuss models and mechanisms for this form of synaptic plasticity.
  3. To explore the relationship of STDP with other approaches.
  4. To reconcile the rate-based and spike-based plasticity data with a unified theoretical framework (very optimistic!).

The following schedule reflects expectations as of November 16, but is subject to hopefully small last-minute adjustments.

Friday Morning, December 7
Saturday Morning, December 8
7:30 Welcome: Paul Munro/Larry Abbott
7:50 Sasha Nelson, Brandeis
8:20 Nathan Intrator, Brown
8:50 Break
9:10 David Horn, Tel Aviv
9:40 Yang Dan, Berkeley
10:10 Discussion (Larry Abbott)
7:30 Adam Kepecs, Brandeis
7:55 Jesper Tenger, KTH
8:20 Paul Munro, U Pittsburgh
8:50 Break
9:10 Guo-chiang Bi, U Pittsburgh
9:40 Frank Tennigheit, Max-Planck Institute
10:10 Discussion (Paul Munro)
Friday Afternoon
Saturday Afternoon
4:00 Harel Shouval (Brown)
4:30 Patrick Roberts, OHSU
5:00 Discussion (Paul Munro)
5:30 Misha Tsodyks, Weizmann Institue
6:00 Michael Rabinovich, UCSD
6:30 Open Discussion
4:00 Hideyuki Cateau, Tamagawa Univ., Tokyo
4:30 Kevin Franks, Salk
5:00 Discussion
5:20 Raj Rao, U Washington
5:50 Mayank Mehta, MIT (may not be able to come)
6:20 General discussion and wrapup