On Computational Power and the Order-Chaos Phase Transition in Reservoir Computing

B. Schrauwen, L. Buesing, and R. Legenstein


Randomly connected recurrent neural circuits have proven to be very powerful models for online computations when a trained memoryless readout function is appended. Such Reservoir Computing (RC) systems are commonly used in two flavors: with analog or binary (spiking) neurons in the recurrent circuits. Previous work showed a fundamental difference between these two incarnations of the RC idea. The performance of a RC system build from binary neurons seems to depend strongly on the network connectivity structure. In networks of analog neurons such dependency has not been observed. In this article we investigate this apparent dichotomy in terms of the in-degree of the circuit nodes. Our analyses based amongst others on the Lyapunov exponent reveal that the phase transition between ordered and chaotic network behavior of binary circuits qualitatively differs from the one in analog circuits. This explains the observed decreased computational performance of binary circuits of high node in-degree. Furthermore, a novel mean-field predictor for computational performance is introduced and shown to accurately predict the numerically obtained results.

Reference: B. Schrauwen, L. Buesing, and R. Legenstein. On computational power and the order-chaos phase transition in reservoir computing. In Proc. of NIPS 2008, Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems, volume 21, pages 1425-1432. MIT Press, 2009.