Generalization of Learning using Reservoir Computing

We investigate the methods by which a Reservoir Computing Network (RCN) learns concepts such as 'similar' and 'different' between pairs of images using a small training dataset and generalizes these concepts to previously unseen types of data. Specifically, we show that an RCN trained to identify relationships between image-pairs drawn from a subset of digits from the MNIST database or the depth maps of subset of visual scenes from a moving camera generalizes the learned transformations to images of digits unseen during training or depth maps of different visual scenes... We infer, using Principal Component Analysis, that the high dimensional reservoir states generated from an input image pair with a specific transformation converge over time to a unique relationship. Thus, as opposed to training the entire high dimensional reservoir state, the reservoir only needs to train on these unique relationships, allowing the reservoir to perform well with very few training examples. Thus, generalization of learning to unseen images is interpretable in terms of clustering of the reservoir state onto the attractor corresponding to the transformation in reservoir space. We find that RCNs can identify and generalize linear and non-linear transformations, and combinations of transformations, naturally and be a robust and effective image classifier. Additionally, RCNs perform significantly better than state of the art neural network classification techniques such as deep Siamese Neural Networks (SNNs) in generalization tasks both on the MNIST dataset and more complex depth maps of visual scenes from a moving camera. This work helps bridge the gap between explainable machine learning and biological learning through analogies using small datasets, and points to new directions in the investigation of learning processes. read more

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