Skip to Main Content
We consider the problem of neural association for a network of nonbinary neurons. Here, the task is to first memorize a set of patterns using a network of neurons whose states assume values from a finite number of integer levels. Later, the same network should be able to recall the previously memorized patterns from their noisy versions. Prior work in this area consider storing a finite number of purely random patterns, and have shown that the pattern retrieval capacities (maximum number of patterns that can be memorized) scale only linearly with the number of neurons in the network. In our formulation of the problem, we concentrate on exploiting redundancy and internal structure of the patterns to improve the pattern retrieval capacity. Our first result shows that if the given patterns have a suitable linear-algebraic structure, i.e., comprise a subspace of the set of all possible patterns, then the pattern retrieval capacity is exponential in terms of the number of neurons. The second result extends the previous finding to cases where the patterns have weak minor components, i.e., the smallest eigenvalues of the correlation matrix tend toward zero. We will use these minor components (or the basis vectors of the pattern null space) to increase both the pattern retrieval capacity and error correction capabilities. An iterative algorithm is proposed for the learning phase, and two simple algorithms are presented for the recall phase. Using analytical methods and simulations, we show that the proposed methods can tolerate a fair amount of errors in the input while being able to memorize an exponentially large number of patterns.