(Plasticity: A Synaptic Modification Simulation Environment)

Written by Brian Blais


What is Plasticity?

Plasticity is a package of programs, with a convenient interface, used to run simulations of single cells and networks of neurons. It is used to explore BCM synaptic modification, Hebbian learning, ICA, and others. It accompanies the book Theory of Cortical Plasticity by Leon Cooper, Nathan Intrator, Brian Blais, and Harel Shouval. It is available from World Scientific.

The basic principle of the simulations is the presentation of pattern and noise vectors to a network of neurons, with specified lateral connectivity and synaptic modification rule. The pattern vectors are either patches from images or simply read from a matlab .mat file as columns of a matrix. The noise vectors are generated during run-time. The interface lets you specify many things including

  • the dimensionality of the inputs
  • number of channels (left/right eye, ON/OFF channels, etc.)
  • the pattern input files
  • generation of input files from a specified correlation function
  • the noise mean, variad>
  • the noise mean, variance and type (uniform, gaussian, etc.)
  • the lateral connectivity
  • the learning rule
  • constraints on the weights (normalization, saturation limits, etc.)
  • number of neurons
  • number of iterations
  • what information to display
  • Requirements

    Plasticity is written in Matlab, using MEX functions for speed. The package will not work without these binary MEX functions. The current package includes binaries for Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX. It should compile on anything that has Matlab. If you do compile it on another architecture, please send an email and it will be included in future revisions.

  • Matlab 6 or greater (it may work in Matlab 5, but since I do not have access to Matlab 5 anymore I can't say for sure).
  • (possibly) a C compiler
  • Download

    (last updated Mar 16 2004)

  • Gnu Zipped Tar File (for all platforms)
  • Warning for WinZip users: When uncompressing this file, turn off the option to do "Smart CR/LF Conversion" on TAR files. This messes up the .mat files, and causes Matlab to crash rather violently.
  • Guide to Plasticity. This documentation is pretty sparse, but will get you started.
  • These files are about 15 Meg compressed, 25 Meg expanded.

    Getting Started

    Just download the files, unpack them in a directory (usually within your matlab directory), and run 'plasticity'. There is a little bit of documentation here.


  • Email: bblais@bryant.edu
  • Brian Blais' research page, with many of online publications
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