We present rules for the unsupervised learning of coincidence between excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) by the adjustment of post-synaptic delays between the transmitter binding and the opening of ion channels. Starting from a gradient descent scheme, we develop a robust and more biological threshold rule by which EPSPs from different synapses can be gradually pulled into coincidence. The synaptic delay changes are determined from the summed potential—at the site where the coincidence is to be established—and from postulated synaptic learning functions that accompany the individual EPSPs. According to our scheme, templates for the detection of spatiotemporal patterns of synaptic activation can be learned, which is demonstrated by computer simulation. Finally, we discuss possible relations to biological mechanisms.

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