is one of two new learning algorithms that have emerged (so far) from the Netlab development effort. This blog entry contains a brief overview describing how it works, and some of the advantages it brings to the task of neural network weight-adjustment.
This learning method is based on the notion that—like their collective counterparts—neurons may be attracted to, and occasionally repulsed by, the exercise of influence by others. In the case of neurons, the "others" would be other neurons. As simple as that notion sounds, it produces a learning method with a number of interesting benefits and advantages over the current crop of learning algorithms.
A neuron using influence learning
is not nosy, and does not concern itself with how
its post-synaptic (forward) neurons are learning. It simply trusts that their job is to learn, and that they are doing their job. In other words, a given neuron fully expects, and assumes that other neurons within the system are learning. Each one treats post-synaptic neurons that are exercising the most influence as role models for adjusting connection-strengths. The norm is for neurons to see influential forward neurons as positive role models, but neurons may also see influential forward neurons as negative role models.
As you might guess, the first benefit is simplicity. The method does not try to hide a lack of new ideas behind a wall of new computational complexity. It is a simple, new, method based on a simple, almost axiomatic, observation, and it can be implemented with relatively little computational power.
is completely free of feedback restrictions. That is, network connection-structures may be designed with any type, or amount of feedback looping. The learning mechanism will continue to be able to properly adapt connection-strengths regardless of how complex the feedback scheme is. The types of feedback designers are free to employ include servo feedback, which places the outside world (or some network structure that is closer to the outside world) directly in the signaling feedback path.
This type of "servo-feedback" is shown graphically in figure 6-5 of the book, which has been re-produced here.