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Classification using sparse representations: a biologically plausible approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-73
Number of pages13
JournalBiological Cybernetics
Issue number1
PublishedFeb 2014


  • sparse_classification

    sparse_classification.pdf, 372 KB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:21 Jul 2015

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

King's Authors


Representing signals as linear combinations of basis vectors sparsely selected from an overcomplete dictionary has proven to be advantageous for many applications in pattern recognition, machine learning, signal processing, and computer vision. While this approach was originally inspired by insights into cortical information processing, biologically plausible approaches have been limited to exploring the functionality of early sensory processing in the brain, while more practical applications have employed non-biologically plausible sparse coding algorithms. Here, a biologically plausible algorithm is proposed that can be applied to practical problems. This algorithm is evaluated using standard benchmark tasks in the domain of pattern classification, and its performance is compared to a wide range of alternative algorithms that are widely used in signal and image processing. The results show that for the classification tasks performed here, the proposed method is competitive with the best of the alternative algorithms that have been evaluated. This demonstrates that classification using sparse representations can be performed in a neurally plausible manner, and hence, that this mechanism of classification might be exploited by the brain.

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