Dynamics of phase oscillator networks with synaptic weight and structural plasticity

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We study the dynamics of Kuramoto oscillator networks with two distinct adaptation processes, one varying the coupling strengths and the other altering the network structure. Such systems model certain networks of oscillatory neurons where the neuronal dynamics, synaptic weights, and network structure interact with and shape each other. We model synaptic weight adaptation with spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) that runs on a longer time scale than neuronal spiking. Structural changes that include addition and elimination of contacts occur at yet a longer time scale than the weight adaptations. First, we study the steady-state dynamics of Kuramoto networks that are bistable and can settle in synchronized or desynchronized states. To compare the impact of adding structural plasticity, we contrast the network with only STDP to one with a combination of STDP and structural plasticity. We show that the inclusion of structural plasticity optimizes the synchronized state of a network by allowing for synchronization with fewer links than a network with STDP alone. With non-identical units in the network, the addition of structural plasticity leads to the emergence of correlations between the oscillators’ natural frequencies and node degrees. In the desynchronized regime, the structural plasticity decreases the number of contacts, leading to a sparse network. In this way, adding structural plasticity strengthens both synchronized and desynchronized states of a network. Second, we use desynchronizing coordinated reset stimulation and synchronizing periodic stimulation to induce desynchronized and synchronized states, respectively. Our findings indicate that a network with a combination of STDP and structural plasticity may require stronger and longer stimulation to switch between the states than a network with STDP only.