Using a million cell simulation of the cerebellum: Network scaling and task generality (2012)
Wen-Ke Li, Matthew J. Hausknecht, Peter Stone, and Michael D. Mauk
Several factors combine to make it feasible to build computer simulations of the cerebellum and to test them in biologically realistic ways. These simulations can be used to help understand the computational contributions of various cerebellar components, including the relevance of the enormous number of neurons in the granule cell layer. In previous work we have used a simulation containing 12000 granule cells to develop new predictions and to account for various aspects of eyelid conditioning, a form of motor learning mediated by the cerebellum. Here we demonstrate the feasibility of scaling up this simulation to over one million granule cells using parallel graphics processing unit (GPU) technology. We observe that this increase in number of granule cells requires only twice the execution time of the smaller simulation on the GPU. We demonstrate that this simulation, like its smaller predecessor, can emulate certain basic features of conditioned eyelid responses, with a slight improvement in performance in one measure. We also use this simulation to examine the generality of the computation properties that we have derived from studying eyelid conditioning. We demonstrate that this scaled up simulation can learn a high level of performance in a classic machine learning task, the cart–pole balancing task. These results suggest that this parallel GPU technology can be used to build very large-scale simulations whose connectivity ratios match those of the real cerebellum and that these simulations can be used guide future studies on cerebellar mediated tasks and on machine learning problems.
Neural Networks (2012).

Peter Stone Faculty pstone [at] cs utexas edu