Sequential Attractors in Combinatorial Threshold-Linear Networks

Caitlyn Parmelee, Juliana Londono Alvarez, Carina Curto, Katherine Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Sequences of neural activity arise in many brain areas, including cortex, hippocampus, and central pattern generator circuits that underlie rhythmic behaviors like locomotion. While network architectures supporting sequence generation vary considerably, a common feature is an abundance of inhibition. In this work, we focus on architectures that support sequential activity in recurrently connected networks with inhibition-dominated dynamics. Specifically, we study emergent sequences in a special family of threshold-linear networks, called combinatorial threshold-linear networks (CTLNs), whose connectivity matrices are defined from directed graphs. Such networks naturally give rise to an abundance of sequences whose dynamics are tightly connected to the underlying graph. We find that architectures based on generalizations of cycle graphs produce limit cycle attractors that can be activated to generate transient or persistent (repeating) sequences. Each architecture type gives rise to an infinite family of graphs that can be built from arbitrary component subgraphs. Moreover, we prove a number of graph rules for the corresponding CTLNs in each family. The graph rules allow us to strongly constrain, and in some cases fully determine, the fixed points of the network in terms of the fixed points of the component subnetworks. Finally, we also show how the structure of certain architectures gives insight into the sequential dynamics of the corresponding attractor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1597-1630
Number of pages34
JournalSIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation


Dive into the research topics of 'Sequential Attractors in Combinatorial Threshold-Linear Networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this