Factorized neural processes for neural processes: K-shot prediction of neural responses

R. James Cotton, Fabian H. Sinz*, Andreas S. Tolias

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


In recent years, artificial neural networks have achieved state-of-the-art performance for predicting the responses of neurons in the visual cortex to natural stimuli. However, they require a time consuming parameter optimization process for accurately modeling the tuning function of newly observed neurons, which prohibits many applications including real-time, closed-loop experiments. We overcome this limitation by formulating the problem as K-shot prediction to directly infer a neuron’s tuning function from a small set of stimulus-response pairs using a Neural Process. This required us to developed a Factorized Neural Process, which embeds the observed set into a latent space partitioned into the receptive field location and the tuning function properties. We show on simulated responses that the predictions and reconstructed receptive fields from the Factorized Neural Process approach ground truth with increasing number of trials. Critically, the latent representation that summarizes the tuning function of a neuron is inferred in a quick, single forward pass through the network. Finally, we validate this approach on real neural data from visual cortex and find that the predictive accuracy is comparable to — and for small K even greater than — optimization based approaches, while being substantially faster. We believe this novel deep learning systems identification framework will facilitate better real-time integration of artificial neural network modeling into neuroscience experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
StatePublished - 2020
Event34th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Dec 6 2020Dec 12 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing


Dive into the research topics of 'Factorized neural processes for neural processes: K-shot prediction of neural responses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this