Energy Consumption and Entropy Production in a Stochastic Formulation of BCM Learning

Document Type



synaptic plasticity; chemical master equation; non-equilibrium thermodynamics

Identifier Data



Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Publication Source

Journal of Computational Biology


In a series of previous studies, we provided a stochastic description of a theory of synaptic plasticity. This theory, called BCM from the names of the three authors, has been formulated in two ways: the original formulation, where the plasticity threshold is defined as the square of the time-averaged neuronal activity, and a newer formulation, where the plasticity threshold is defined as the time average of the square of the neuronal activity. The newest formulation of the BCM rule of synaptic activity has interesting statistical properties, derived from a risk (or energy) function, the minimization of which leads to seeking of interesting projections in high-dimensional space. Moreover, these two rules, if implemented by a chemical master equation approach, show another interesting difference: the original rule satisfies the detailed balance, whereas the other not. Based on this different behavior, we found a continuous parameterization between these two rules. This parameterization shows a minimum that corresponds to maximum negative eigenvalues of the Jacobian matrix. In addition, the newest rule, due to the fact that it is in a nonequilibrium steady state (NESS), shows a higher level of plasticity than the original rule. This higher level of plasticity has to be interpreted in the framework of open thermodynamical systems and we show that entropy production and energy consumption in the newest rule are both less than in the original BCM rule.