: Animal behavior and neural recordings show that the brain is able to measure both the intensity and the timing of odor encounters. However, whether intensity or timing of odor detections is more informative for olfactory-driven behavior is not understood. To tackle this question, we consider the problem of locating a target using the odor it releases. We ask whether the position of a target is best predicted by measures of timing vs intensity of its odor, sampled for a short period of time. To answer this question, we feed data from accurate numerical simulations of odor transport to machine learning algorithms that learn how to connect odor to target location. We find that both intensity and timing can separately predict target location even from a distance of several meters; however, their efficacy varies with the dilution of the odor in space. Thus, organisms that use olfaction from different ranges may have to switch among different modalities. This has implications on how the brain should represent odors as the target is approached. We demonstrate simple strategies to improve accuracy and robustness of the prediction by modifying odor sampling and appropriately combining distinct measures together. To test the predictions, animal behavior and odor representation should be monitored as the animal moves relative to the target, or in virtual conditions that mimic concentrated vs dilute environments.

Learning to predict target location with turbulent odor plumes

Rigolli N.;Magnoli N.;Rosasco L.;Seminara A.
2022-01-01

Abstract

: Animal behavior and neural recordings show that the brain is able to measure both the intensity and the timing of odor encounters. However, whether intensity or timing of odor detections is more informative for olfactory-driven behavior is not understood. To tackle this question, we consider the problem of locating a target using the odor it releases. We ask whether the position of a target is best predicted by measures of timing vs intensity of its odor, sampled for a short period of time. To answer this question, we feed data from accurate numerical simulations of odor transport to machine learning algorithms that learn how to connect odor to target location. We find that both intensity and timing can separately predict target location even from a distance of several meters; however, their efficacy varies with the dilution of the odor in space. Thus, organisms that use olfaction from different ranges may have to switch among different modalities. This has implications on how the brain should represent odors as the target is approached. We demonstrate simple strategies to improve accuracy and robustness of the prediction by modifying odor sampling and appropriately combining distinct measures together. To test the predictions, animal behavior and odor representation should be monitored as the animal moves relative to the target, or in virtual conditions that mimic concentrated vs dilute environments.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1110140
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