Abstract

The leaky integrate-and-fire (LIF) model of neuronal spiking (Stein 1967) provides an analytically tractable formalism of neuronal firing rate in terms of a neuron's membrane time constant, threshold, and refractory period. LIF neurons have mainly been used to model physiologically realistic spike trains, but little application of the LIF model appears to have been made in explicitly computational contexts. In this article, we show that the transfer function of a LIF neuron provides, over a wide parameter range, a compressive nonlinearity sufficiently close to that of the logarithm so that LIF neurons can be used to multiply neural signals by mere addition of their outputs yielding the logarithm of the product. A simulation of the LIF multiplier shows that under a wide choice of parameters, a LIF neuron can log-multiply its inputs to within a 5% relative error.

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