Ohki Katakura's journal club session, where he presented the paper "Revisiting a theory of cerebellar cortex (Yamazaki & Lennon 2019 in press)".
Long-term depression at parallel fiber-Purkinje cell synapses plays a principal role in learning in the cerebellum, which acts as a supervised learning machine. Recent experiments demonstrate various forms of synaptic plasticity at different sites within the cerebellum. In this article, we take into consideration synaptic plasticity at parallel fiber-molecular layer interneuron synapses as well as at parallel fiber-Purkinje cell synapses, and propose that the cerebellar cortex performs reinforcement learning, another form of learning that is more capable than supervised learning. We posit that through the use of reinforcement learning, the need for explicit teacher signals for learning in the cerebellum is eliminated; instead, learning can occur via responses from evaluative feedback. We demonstrate the learning capacity of cerebellar reinforcement learning using simple computer simulations of delay eyeblink conditioning and the cart-pole balancing task.