MPD-AL: An Efficient Membrane Potential Driven Aggregate-Label Learning Algorithm for Spiking Neurons

  • Malu Zhang National University of Singapore
  • Jibin Wu National University of Singapore
  • Yansong Chua Institute for Infocomm Research
  • Xiaoling Luo University of Electronic Science and Technology of China
  • Zihan Pan National University of Singapore
  • Dan Liu University of Electronic Science and Technology of China
  • Haizhou Li National University of Singapore


One of the long-standing questions in biology and machine learning is how neural networks may learn important features from the input activities with a delayed feedback, commonly known as the temporal credit-assignment problem. The aggregate-label learning is proposed to resolve this problem by matching the spike count of a neuron with the magnitude of a feedback signal. However, the existing threshold-driven aggregate-label learning algorithms are computationally intensive, resulting in relatively low learning efficiency hence limiting their usability in practical applications. In order to address these limitations, we propose a novel membrane-potential driven aggregate-label learning algorithm, namely MPD-AL. With this algorithm, the easiest modifiable time instant is identified from membrane potential traces of the neuron, and guild the synaptic adaptation based on the presynaptic neurons’ contribution at this time instant. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed algorithm enables the neurons to generate the desired number of spikes, and to detect useful clues embedded within unrelated spiking activities and background noise with a better learning efficiency over the state-of-the-art TDP1 and Multi-Spike Tempotron algorithms. Furthermore, we propose a data-driven dynamic decoding scheme for practical classification tasks, of which the aggregate labels are hard to define. This scheme effectively improves the classification accuracy of the aggregate-label learning algorithms as demonstrated on a speech recognition task.

AAAI Technical Track: Cognitive Modeling