Weak universality in sensory tradeoffs
Author(s)DeDeo, Simon; Marzen, Sarah E.
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For many organisms, the number of sensory neurons is largely determined during development, before strong environmental cues are present. This is despite the fact that environments can fluctuate drastically both from generation to generation and within an organism's lifetime. How can organisms get by by hard coding the number of sensory neurons? We approach this question using rate-distortion theory. A combination of simulation and theory suggests that when environments are large, the rate-distortion function—a proxy for material costs, timing delays, and energy requirements—depends only on coarse-grained environmental statistics that are expected to change on evolutionary, rather than ontogenetic, time scales.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics
Physical Review E
American Physical Society
Marzen, Sarah, and Simon DeDeo. “Weak Universality in Sensory Tradeoffs.” Physical Review E 94.6 (2016): n. pag. © 2016 American Physical Society
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