We present Modular Memory Units (MMUs), a new class of memory-augmented neural network. MMU builds on the gated neural architecture of Gated Recurrent Units (GRUs) and Long Short Term Memory (LSTMs), to incorporate an external memory block, similar to a Neural Turing Machine (NTM). MMU interacts with the memory block using independent read and write gates that serve to decouple the memory from the central feedforward operation. This allows for regimented memory access and update, giving our network the ability to choose when to read from memory, update it, or simply ignore it. This capacity to act in detachment allows the network to shield the memory from noise and other distractions, while simultaneously using it to effectively retain and propagate information over an extended period of time. We train MMU using both neuroevolution and gradient descent, and perform experiments on two deep memory benchmarks. Results demonstrate that MMU performs significantly faster and more accurately than traditional LSTM-based methods, and is robust to dramatic increases in the sequence depth of these memory benchmarks.

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