Maximising information recovery from rank-order codes

B. Sen, S.B Furber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The central nervous system encodes information in sequences of asynchronously generated voltage spikes, but the precise details of this encoding are not well understood. Thorpe proposed rank-order codes as an explanation of the observed speed of information processing in the human visual system. The work described in this paper is inspired by the performance of SpikeNET, a biologically inspired neural architecture using rank-order codes for information processing, and is based on the retinal model developed by VanRullen and Thorpe. This model mimics retinal information processing by passing an input image through a bank of Difference of Gaussian (DoG) filters and then encoding the resulting coefficients in rank-order. To test the effectiveness of this encoding in capturing the information content of an image, the rank-order representation is decoded to reconstruct an image that can be compared with the original. The reconstruction uses a look-up table to infer the filter coefficients from their rank in the encoded image. Since the DoG filters are approximately orthogonal functions, they are treated as their own inverses in the reconstruction process. We obtained a quantitative measure of the perceptually important information retained in the reconstructed image relative to the original using a slightly modified version of an objective metric proposed by Petrovic. It is observed that around 75% of the perceptually important information is retained in the reconstruction. In the present work we reconstruct the input using a pseudo-inverse of the DoG filter-bank with the aim of improving the reconstruction and thereby extracting more information from the rank-order encoded stimulus. We observe that there is an increase of 10-15% in the information retrieved from a reconstructed stimulus as a result of inverting the filter-bank.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventData Mining, Intrusion Detection, Information Assurance, and Data Networks Security 2007 - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: 10 Apr 200710 Apr 2007


ConferenceData Mining, Intrusion Detection, Information Assurance, and Data Networks Security 2007
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL


  • Difference of Gaussian (DoG)
  • Edge detection
  • Ganglion cells
  • Image reconstruction
  • Model of retina
  • Neural encoding
  • Perceptual information recovery
  • Pseudo-inverse
  • Rank-order codes
  • Singular value decomposition


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