Integrate-and-express models of synaptic plasticity propose that synapses may act as low-pass filters, integrating synaptic plasticity induction signals in order to discern trends before expressing synaptic plasticity. We have previously shown that synaptic filtering strongly controls destabilizing fluctuations in developmental models. When applied to palimpsest memory systems that learn new memories by forgetting old ones, we have also shown that with binary-strength synapses, integrative synapses lead to an initial memory signal rise before its fall back to equilibrium. Such an initial rise is in dramatic contrast to nonintegrative synapses, in which the memory signal falls monotonically. We now extend our earlier analysis of palimpsest memories with synaptic filters to consider the more general case of discrete state, multilevel synapses. We derive exact results for the memory signal dynamics and then consider various simplifying approximations. We show that multilevel synapses enhance the initial rise in the memory signal and then delay its subsequent fall by inducing a plateau-like region in the memory signal. Such dynamics significantly increase memory lifetimes, defined by a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). We derive expressions for optimal choices of synaptic parameters (filter size, number of strength states, number of synapses) that maximize SNR memory lifetimes. However, we find that with memory lifetimes defined via mean-first-passage times, such optimality conditions do not exist, suggesting that optimality may be an artifact of SNRs.

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