A biologically inspired neuronal network that stores and recognizes temporal sequences of symbols is described. Each symbol is represented by excitatory input to distinct groups of neurons (symbol pools). Unambiguous storage of multiple sequences with common subsequences is ensured by partitioning each symbol pool into subpools that respond only when the current symbol has been preceded by a particular sequence of symbols. We describe synaptic structure and neural dynamics that permit the selective activation of subpools by the correct sequence. Symbols may have varying durations of the order of hundreds of milliseconds. Physiologically plausible plasticity mechanisms operate on a time scale of tens of milliseconds; an interaction of the excitatory input with periodic global inhibition bridges this gap so that neural events representing successive symbols occur on this much faster timescale. The network is shown to store multiple overlapping sequences of events. It is robust to variation in symbol duration, it is scalable, and its performance degrades gracefully with perturbation of its parameters.

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