Learning Horizontal Connections in a Sparse Coding Model of Natural Images

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 20 (NIPS 2007)

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Pierre Garrigues, Bruno Olshausen


It has been shown that adapting a dictionary of basis functions to the statistics of natural images so as to maximize sparsity in the coefficients results in a set of dictionary elements whose spatial properties resemble those of V1 (primary visual cortex) receptive fields. However, the resulting sparse coefficients still exhibit pronounced statistical dependencies, thus violating the independence assumption of the sparse coding model. Here, we propose a model that attempts to capture the dependencies among the basis function coefficients by including a pairwise coupling term in the prior over the coefficient activity states. When adapted to the statistics of natural images, the coupling terms learn a combination of facilitatory and inhibitory interactions among neighboring basis functions. These learned interactions may offer an explanation for the function of horizontal connections in V1, and we discuss the implications of our findings for physiological experiments.