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2015 Technical Reports

Computational Role of Astrocytes as Bayesian Inference Agents in Shaping Neural Networks

Martin Dimkovski and Aijun An

Technical Report EECS-2015-01

York University

February 27 2015


Glia cells are increasingly suspected of having an information processing role in the nervous system, however, it is not clear what their precise role could be. Based on the intracellular calcium wave mechanics of astrocytes, we derive a capability of astrocytes to encode information probabilistically, and we present their effect on neural networks as Bayesian inference over synapse parametrization, analogous to Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) sampling. The proposed framework suggests a Bayesian nature at the cellular level in the neocortex. We also make an argument that astrocytes have a central role in learning for a new behavior, and shaping neural networks for this new behavior.

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