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Beyond Biologically Plausible Spiking Networks for Neuromorphic Computing

Authors: Anand Subramoney, Khaleelulla Khan Nazeer, Mark Schöne, Christian Mayr, David Kappel

Presentation type: Talk


Biologically plausible spiking neural networks (SNNs) are an emerging architecture for deep learning tasks due to their energy efficiency when implemented on neuromorphic hardware. However, many of the biological features are at best irrelevant and at worst counterproductive when evaluated in the context of task performance and suitability for neuromorphic hardware. In this talk, I will present an alternative paradigm to design deep learning architectures with good task performance in real-world benchmarks while maintaining all the advantages of SNNs. We do this by focusing on two main features – event-based computation and activity sparsity. Starting from the performant gated recurrent unit (GRU) deep learning architecture, we modify it to make it event-based and activity-sparse. The resulting event-based GRU (EGRU) is extremely efficient for both training and inference. At the same time, it achieves performance close to conventional deep learning architectures in challenging tasks such as language modelling, gesture recognition and sequential MNIST.