Large-Scale Neuromorphic Spiking Array Processors: A Quest to Mimic the Brain

Chetan Singh Thakur*, Jamal Lottier Molin, Gert Cauwenberghs, Giacomo Indiveri, Kundan Kumar, Ning Qiao, Johannes Schemmel, Runchun Wang, Elisabetta Chicca, Jennifer Olson Hasler, Jae-sun Seo, Shimeng Yu, Yu Cao, Andre van Schaik, Ralph Etienne-Cummings

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Neuromorphic engineering (NE) encompasses a diverse range of approaches to information processing that are inspired by neurobiological systems, and this feature distinguishes neuromorphic systems from conventional computing systems. The brain has evolved over billions of years to solve difficult engineering problems by using efficient, parallel, low-power computation. The goal of NE is to design systems capable of brain-like computation. Numerous large-scale neuromorphic projects have emerged recently. This interdisciplinary field was listed among the top 10 technology breakthroughs of 2014 by the MIT Technology Review and among the top 10 emerging technologies of 2015 by the World Economic Forum. NE has two-way goals: one, a scientific goal to understand the computational properties of biological neural systems by using models implemented in integrated circuits (ICs); second, an engineering goal to exploit the known properties of biological systems to design and implement efficient devices for engineering applications. Building hardware neural emulators can be extremely useful for simulating large-scale neural models to explain how intelligent behavior arises in the brain. The principal advantages of neuromorphic emulators are that they are highly energy efficient, parallel and distributed, and require a small silicon area. Thus, compared to conventional CPUs, these neuromorphic emulators are beneficial in many engineering applications such as for the porting of deep learning algorithms for various recognitions tasks. In this review article, we describe some of the most significant neuromorphic spiking emulators, compare the different architectures and approaches used by them, illustrate their advantages and drawbacks, and highlight the capabilities that each can deliver to neural modelers. This article focuses on the discussion of large-scale emulators and is a continuation of a previous review of various neural and synapse circuits (Indiveri et al., 2011). We also explore applications where these emulators have been used and discuss some of their promising future applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number891
Number of pages37
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3-Dec-2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • neuromorphic engineering
  • large-scale systems
  • brain-inspired computing
  • analog sub-threshold
  • spiking neural emulator
  • LEARNING ALGORITHMS
  • NEURAL-NETWORK
  • NEURONS
  • SYSTEM
  • MODEL
  • ARCHITECTURE
  • MEMRISTOR
  • DESIGN
  • CHIP
  • IMPLEMENTATIONS

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