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Learning Hierarchically Structured Concepts

2019-09-10 15:11:38
Nancy Lynch, Frederik Mallmann-Trenn


We study the question of how concepts that have structure get represented in the brain. Specifically, we introduce a model for hierarchically structured concepts and we show how a biologically plausible neural network can recognize these concepts, and how it can learn them in the first place. Our main goal is to introduce a general framework for these tasks and prove formally how both (recognition and learning) can be achieved. We show that both tasks can be accomplished even in presence of noise. For learning, we analyze Oja's rule formally, a well-known biologically-plausible rule for adjusting the weights of synapses. We complement the learning results with lower bounds asserting that, in order to recognize concepts of a certain hierarchical depth, neural networks must have a corresponding number of layers.

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