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Neural Computation

October 2021, Vol. 33, No. 10, Pages 2603-2645
(doi: 10.1162/neco_a_01418)
© 2021 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Stimulus-Driven and Spontaneous Dynamics in Excitatory-Inhibitory Recurrent Neural Networks for Sequence Representation
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Recurrent neural networks (RNNs) have been widely used to model sequential neural dynamics (“neural sequences”) of cortical circuits in cognitive and motor tasks. Efforts to incorporate biological constraints and Dale's principle will help elucidate the neural representations and mechanisms of underlying circuits. We trained an excitatory-inhibitory RNN to learn neural sequences in a supervised manner and studied the representations and dynamic attractors of the trained network. The trained RNN was robust to trigger the sequence in response to various input signals and interpolated a time-warped input for sequence representation. Interestingly, a learned sequence can repeat periodically when the RNN evolved beyond the duration of a single sequence. The eigenspectrum of the learned recurrent connectivity matrix with growing or damping modes, together with the RNN's nonlinearity, were adequate to generate a limit cycle attractor. We further examined the stability of dynamic attractors while training the RNN to learn two sequences. Together, our results provide a general framework for understanding neural sequence representation in the excitatory-inhibitory RNN.