Research Area:  Machine Learning
Reservoir computing (RC) is a powerful computational paradigm that allows high versatility with cheap learning. While other artificial intelligence approaches need exhaustive resources to specify their inner workings, RC is based on a reservoir with highly nonlinear dynamics that does not require a fine tuning of its parts. These dynamics project input signals into high-dimensional spaces, where training linear readouts to extract input features is vastly simplified. Thus, inexpensive learning provides very powerful tools for decision-making, controlling dynamical systems, classification, etc. RC also facilitates solving multiple tasks in parallel, resulting in a high throughput. Existing literature focuses on applications in artificial intelligence and neuroscience. We review this literature from an evolutionary perspective. RC’s versatility makes it a great candidate to solve outstanding problems in biology, which raises relevant questions. Is RC as abundant in nature as its advantages should imply? Has it evolved? Once evolved, can it be easily sustained? Under what circumstances? (In other words, is RC an evolutionarily stable computing paradigm?) To tackle these issues, we introduce a conceptual morphospace that would map computational selective pressures that could select for or against RC and other computing paradigms. This guides a speculative discussion about the questions above and allows us to propose a solid research line that brings together computation and evolution with RC as test model of the proposed hypotheses.
Author(s) Name:  Luis F. Seoane
Journal name:  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B
Publisher name:  Royal Society
Volume Information:  Volume 374, Issue 1774
Paper Link:   https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rstb.2018.0377