Abstract |
We propose reinforcement learning on simple networks consisting of random connections of spiking neurons (both recurrent and feed-forward) that can learn complex tasks with very little trainable parameters. Such sparse and randomly interconnected recurrent spiking networks exhibit highly non-linear dynamics that transform the inputs into rich high-dimensional representations based on the current and past context. The random input representations can be efficiently interpreted by an output (or readout) layer with trainable parameters. Systematic initialization of the random connections and training of the readout layer using Q-learning algorithm enable such small random spiking networks to learn optimally and achieve the same learning efficiency as humans on complex reinforcement learning (RL) tasks like Atari games. In fact, the sparse recurrent connections cause these networks to retain fading memory of past inputs, thereby enabling them to perform temporal integration across successive RL time-steps and learn with partial state inputs. The spike-based approach using small random recurrent networks provides a computationally efficient alternative to state-of-the-art deep reinforcement learning networks with several layers of trainable parameters. |