Self-Managing Associative Memory for Dynamic Acquisition of Expertise in High-Level Domains

Self-organizing maps can be used to implement an associative memory for an intelligent system that dynamically learns about new high-level domains over time. SOMs are an attractive option for implementing associative memory: they are fast, easily parallelized, and digest a stream of incoming data into a topographically organized collection of models where more frequent classes of data are represented by higher-resolution collections of models. Typically, the distribution of models in an SOM, once developed, remains fairly stable, but developing expertise in a new high-level domain requires altering the allocation of models. We use a mixture of analysis and empirical studies to characterize the behavior of SOMs for high-level associative memory, finding that new high-resolution collections of models develop quickly. High-resolution areas of the SOM decay rapidly unless actively refreshed, but in a large SOM, the ratio between growth rate and decay rate may be high enough to support both fast learning and long-term memory.

Jacob Beal