Cengiz Pehlevan, Dmitri Chklovskii
To make sense of the world our brains must analyze high-dimensional datasets streamed by our sensory organs. Because such analysis begins with dimensionality reduction, modelling early sensory processing requires biologically plausible online dimensionality reduction algorithms. Recently, we derived such an algorithm, termed similarity matching, from a Multidimensional Scaling (MDS) objective function. However, in the existing algorithm, the number of output dimensions is set a priori by the number of output neurons and cannot be changed. Because the number of informative dimensions in sensory inputs is variable there is a need for adaptive dimensionality reduction. Here, we derive biologically plausible dimensionality reduction algorithms which adapt the number of output dimensions to the eigenspectrum of the input covariance matrix. We formulate three objective functions which, in the offline setting, are optimized by the projections of the input dataset onto its principal subspace scaled by the eigenvalues of the output covariance matrix. In turn, the output eigenvalues are computed as i) soft-thresholded, ii) hard-thresholded, iii) equalized thresholded eigenvalues of the input covariance matrix. In the online setting, we derive the three corresponding adaptive algorithms and map them onto the dynamics of neuronal activity in networks with biologically plausible local learning rules. Remarkably, in the last two networks, neurons are divided into two classes which we identify with principal neurons and interneurons in biological circuits.