Modeling the Evolution of Retina Neural Network

Ziyi Gong, Paul Munro

Vital to primary visual processing, retinal circuitry shows many similar structures across a very broad array of species, both vertebrate and non-vertebrate, especially functional components such as lateral inhibition. This surprisingly conservative pattern raises a question of how evolution leads to it, and whether there is any alternative that can also prompt helpful preprocessing. Here we design a state-of-the-art method using genetic algorithm that, with many degrees of freedom, leads to architectures whose functions are similar to biological retina, as well as effective alternatives that are different in structures and functions. We compare this state-of-the-art model to natural evolution and discuss how our framework can come into goal-driven search and sustainable enhancement of neural network models in machine learning.

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