Hierarchical Modular Optimization of Convolutional Networks Achieves Representations Similar to Macaque IT and Human Ventral Stream

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 26 (NIPS 2013)

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Daniel L. Yamins, Ha Hong, Charles Cadieu, James J. DiCarlo


Humans recognize visually-presented objects rapidly and accurately. To understand this ability, we seek to construct models of the ventral stream, the series of cortical areas thought to subserve object recognition. One tool to assess the quality of a model of the ventral stream is the Representation Dissimilarity Matrix (RDM), which uses a set of visual stimuli and measures the distances produced in either the brain (i.e. fMRI voxel responses, neural firing rates) or in models (features). Previous work has shown that all known models of the ventral stream fail to capture the RDM pattern observed in either IT cortex, the highest ventral area, or in the human ventral stream. In this work, we construct models of the ventral stream using a novel optimization procedure for category-level object recognition problems, and produce RDMs resembling both macaque IT and human ventral stream. The model, while novel in the optimization procedure, further develops a long-standing functional hypothesis that the ventral visual stream is a hierarchically arranged series of processing stages optimized for visual object recognition.