Learning Hierarchical Information Flow with Recurrent Neural Modules

Danijar Hafner
James Davidson
Nicolas Heess


We propose a deep learning model inspired by neocortical communication via the thalamus. Our model consists of recurrent neural modules that send features via a routing center, endowing the modules with the flexibility to share features over multiple time steps. We show that our model learns to route information hierarchically, processing input data by a chain of modules. We observe common architectures, such as feed forward neural networks and skip connections, emerging as special cases of our architecture, while novel connectivity patterns are learned for the text8 compression task. We demonstrate that our model outperforms standard recurrent neural networks on three sequential benchmarks.

Research Areas