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Deep Recurrent Neural Network and Point Process Filter Approaches in Multidimensional Neural Decoding Problems

Recent technological and experimental advances in recording from neural systems have led to a significant increase in the type and volume of data being collected in neuroscience experiments. This brings an increasing demand for development of appropriate analytical tools to analyze large scale neuroscience data. Simultaneously, advancement in deep neural networks (DNNs) and statistical modeling frameworks have provided new techniques for analysis of diverse forms of neuroscience data. DNNs like Long short-term memory (LSTM) or statistical modeling approaches like state-space point-process (SSPP) are widely used in the analysis of neural data including neural coding and inference analysis. Despite wide utilization of these techniques, there is a lack of comprehensive studies which systematically assess attributes of LSTM and SSPP approaches on a common neuroscience data analysis problem. As a result, this occasionally leads to inconsistent and divergent conclusions on the strength or weakness of either of the methodologies and also statistical significance of the analytical outcomes. In this research, we focus on providing a more systematic and multifaceted assessment of LSTM and SSPP techniques in a neural decoding problem. We examine different settings and modeling specifications to attain the optimal modeling solutions. We propose new LSTM network topologies and approximate filter solution to estimate a rat movement trajectory in a 2-D spaces using an ensemble of place cells’ spiking activity. For each technique; we then study performance, computational efficiency, and generalizability of each technique in this decoding problem. By utilizing these results, we provided a succinct picture of the strength and weakness of each modeling approach and suggest who each of these techniques can be properly utilized in neural decoding problems.


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