Chemical Influence

CI - Chemical influences are a Netlab specific term that is roughly analogous to those chemical secretions in biological networks and support mechanisms that act at a distance or on neighboring cells/areas.

CI's are produced by neurons in Netlab. A multitude of CI's may be defined within the net and labeled with short name tags, which are coined by the designer, to allow references to them.

CI's may be defined to be released based on a variety of occurrences within a CI-producing neuron, or within the neural network as a whole, as monitored by the CI-producing neuron. These could even be based on outside mechanisms that stimulate a neuron that has been specified to produce a given CI.

A single, named, CI can be produced by any number of individual neurons within the network. Likewise, a single neuron can be specified to produce (i.e., emit) any number of different CIs.

A neuron's attributes and behaviors, including learning mechanisms, may be configured to be modified in a variety of different ways by the presence of different CI's (referenced by their name labels). These CI sensitivities can be defined on a neuron by neuron basis, a unit-level, or a network-level, just as other attributes, using the normal mechanism of defaulting to higher level configuration values. Pathfinders are an example of a neuron process which can be modified. A neuron's growth-cone can be specified to be attracted, or repulsed by the presence of any number of CI's being emitted by units or individual neurons within its vicinity.

CI's, when combined with Netlab's modular unit hierarchy, embody a form of locality, which supports the notion of concentration-gradients, and temporal movement of CI's over space. The amount a CI is emitted from a given unit in Netlab is definable as the unit's efferent CI rate. This gives control over how much of a given CI produced within a given unit escapes to its enclosing unit.

Likewise, a unit's afferent CI rate can be specified, which determines the amount of CI from the enclosing unit that will enter into the unit for which the afferent rate is specified.

In each case, the time it takes for a given concentration of CI to cross multiple unit boundaries is also a factor.



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