Learning by non-interfering feedback chemical signaling in physical networks

Vidyesh Rao Anisetti, B. Scellier, J. M. Schwarz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Both non-neural and neural biological systems can learn. So rather than focusing on purely brain-like learning, efforts are underway to study learning in physical systems. Such efforts include equilibrium propagation (EP) and coupled learning (CL), which require storage of two different states - the free state and the perturbed state - during the learning process to retain information about gradients. Here, we propose a learning algorithm rooted in chemical signaling that does not require storage of two different states. Rather, the output error information is encoded in a chemical signal that diffuses into the network in a similar way as the activation/feedforward signal. The steady-state feedback chemical concentration, along with the activation signal, stores the required gradient information locally. We apply our algorithm using a physical, linear flow network and test it using the Iris data set with 93% accuracy. We also prove that our algorithm performs gradient descent. Finally, in addition to comparing our algorithm directly with EP and CL, we address the biological plausibility of the algorithm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number023024
JournalPhysical Review Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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