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In randomly connected networks of pulse-coupled elements a time-dependent input signal can be buffered over a short time. We studied the signal buffering properties in simulated networks as a function of the networks' state, characterized by both the Lyapunov exponent of the microscopic dynamics and the macroscopic activity derived from mean-field theory. If all network elements receive the same signal, signal buffering over delays comparable to the intrinsic time constant of the network elements can be explained by macroscopic properties and works best at the phase transition to chaos. However, if only 20% of the network units receive a common time-dependent signal, signal buffering properties improve and can no longer be attributed to the macroscopic dynamics.