Maximum memory capacity on neural networks with short-term synaptic depression and facilitation

Neural Comput. 2009 Mar;21(3):851-71. doi: 10.1162/neco.2008.02-08-719.


In this work, we study, analytically and employing Monte Carlo simulations, the influence of the competition between several activity-dependent synaptic processes, such as short-term synaptic facilitation and depression, on the maximum memory storage capacity in a neural network. In contrast to the case of synaptic depression, which drastically reduces the capacity of the network to store and retrieve "static" activity patterns, synaptic facilitation enhances the storage capacity in different contexts. In particular, we found optimal values of the relevant synaptic parameters (such as the neurotransmitter release probability or the characteristic facilitation time constant) for which the storage capacity can be maximal and similar to the one obtained with static synapses, that is, without activity-dependent processes. We conclude that depressing synapses with a certain level of facilitation allow recovering the good retrieval properties of networks with static synapses while maintaining the nonlinear characteristics of dynamic synapses, convenient for information processing and coding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electronic Data Processing
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptic Potentials / physiology*