Lower Bounds for the Computational Power of Networks of Spiking Neurons

W. Maass


We investigate the computational power of a formal model for networks of spiking neurons. It is shown that simple operations on phase differences between spike-trains provide a very powerful computational tool that can in principle be used to carry out highly complex computations on a small network of spiking neurons. We construct networks of spiking neurons that simulate arbitrary threshold circuits, Turing machines, and a certain type of random access machines with real valued inputs. We also show that relatively weak basic assumptions about the response and threshold functions of the spiking neurons are sufficient to employ them for such computations.

Reference: W. Maass. Lower bounds for the computational power of networks of spiking neurons. Neural Computation, 8(1):1-40, 1996.