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Title: Artificial ontogenesis : a connectionist model of development
Author: Spratling, Michael William
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1999
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A modular neural network architecture is presented as a basis for a model of development. The pattern of activity of the neurons in an individual network constitutes a representation of the input to that network. This representation is formed through a novel, unsupervised, learning algorithm which adjusts the synaptic weights to improve the representation of the input data. Representations are formed by neurons learning to respond to correlated sets of inputs. Neurons thus become feature detectors or pattern recognisers. Because the nodes respond to patterns of inputs they encode more abstract features of the input than are explicitly encoded in the input data itself. In this way simple representations provide the basis for learning more complex representations. The algorithm allows both more abstract representations to be formed by associating correlated, coincident, features together, and invariant representations to be formed by associating correlated, sequential, features together. The algorithm robustly learns accurate and stable representations, in a format most appropriate to the structure of the input data received: it can represent both single and multiple input features in both discrete and continuous domains, using either topologically organised nodes. The output of one neural network is used to prove inputs for other networks. The robustness of the algorithm enables each neural network to be implemented using an identical algorithm. This allows a modular 'assembly' of neural networks to be used for learning more complex abilities: the output activations of a network can be used as the input to other networks which can then find representations of more abstract information within the same input data; and, by defining the output activations of neurons in certain networks to have behavioural consequences it is possible to learn sensory-motor associations, to enable sensory representations to be used to control behaviour.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available