Abstract

Extending work in Eliasmith and Anderson (2003), we employ a general framework to construct biologically plausible simulations of the three classes of attractor networks relevant for biological systems: static (point, line, ring, and plane) attractors, cyclic attractors, and chaotic attractors. We discuss these attractors in the context of the neural systems that they have been posited to help explain: eye control, working memory, and head direction; locomotion (specifically swimming); and olfaction, respectively. We then demonstrate how to introduce control into these models. The addition of control shows how attractor networks can be used as subsystems in larger neural systems, demonstrates how a much larger class of networks can be related to attractor networks, and makes it clear how attractor networks can be exploited for various information processing tasks in neurobiological systems.

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