Advances in SHRUTI: A neurally motivated model of relational knowledge representation and rapid inference using temporal synchrony.

TitleAdvances in SHRUTI: A neurally motivated model of relational knowledge representation and rapid inference using temporal synchrony.
Publication TypeTechnical Report
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsShastri, L.
Other Numbers1158
Keywordsdynamic binding, evidential reasoning, inference, knowledge representation, temporal synchrony

We are capable of drawing a variety of inferences effortlessly, spontaneously, and with remarkable efficiency - as though these inferences are a reflex response of our cognitive apparatus. This remarkable human ability poses a challenge for cognitive science and computational neuroscience: How can a network of slow neuron-like elements represent a large body of systematic knowledge and perform a wide range of inferences with such speed? The connectionist model SHRUTI attempts to address this challenge by demonstrating how a neurally plausible network can encode a large body of semantic and episodic facts, systematic rules, and knowledge about entities and types, and yet perform a wide range of explanatory and predictive inferences within a few hundred milliseconds. Relational structures (frames, schemas) are represented in SHRUTI by clusters of cells, and inference in SHRUTI corresponds to a transient propagation of rhythmic activity over such cell-clusters wherein dynamic bindings are represented by the synchronous firing of appropriate cells. SHRUTI encodes mappings across relational structures using high-efficacy links that enable the propagation of rhythmic activity, and it encodes items in long-term memory as coincidence and coincidence-error detector circuits that become active in response to the occurrence (or non-occurrence) of appropriate coincidences in the on going flux of rhythmic activity. Finally, "understanding'' in SHRUTI corresponds to reverberant and coherent activity along closed loops of neural circuitry. Over the past several years, SHRUTI has undergone several enhancements that have augmented its expressiveness and inferential power. This paper describes some of these extensions that enable SHRUTI to (i) deal with negation and inconsistent beliefs, (ii) encode evidential rules and facts, (iii) perform inferences requiring the dynamic instantiation of entities, and (iv) seek coherent explanations of observations.

Bibliographic Notes

ICSI Technical Report TR-98-043

Abbreviated Authors

L. Shastri

ICSI Research Group


ICSI Publication Type

Technical Report