skip to main content

Title: Spiking Neural Networks with Laterally-Inhibited Self-Recurrent Units
In biological brains, recurrent connections play a crucial role in cortical computation, modulation of network dynamics, and communication. However, in recurrent spiking neural networks (SNNs), recurrence is mostly constructed by random connections. How excitatory and inhibitory recurrent connections affect network responses and what kinds of connectivity benefit learning performance is still obscure. In this work, we propose a novel recurrent structure called the Laterally-Inhibited Self-Recurrent Unit (LISR), which consists of one excitatory neuron with a self-recurrent connection wired together with an inhibitory neuron through excitatory and inhibitory synapses. The self-recurrent connection of the excitatory neuron mitigates the information loss caused by the firing-and-resetting mechanism and maintains the long-term neuronal memory. The lateral inhibition from the inhibitory neuron to the corresponding excitatory neuron, on the one hand, adjusts the firing activity of the latter. On the other hand, it plays as a forget gate to clear the memory of the excitatory neuron. Based on speech and image datasets commonly used in neuromorphic computing, RSNNs based on the proposed LISR improve performance significantly by up to 9.26% over feedforward SNNs trained by a state-of-the-art backpropagation method with similar computational costs.
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
2021 International Joint Conference on Neural Networks
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. We report the first experimental demonstration of ferroelectric field-effect transistor (FEFET) based spiking neurons. A unique feature of the ferroelectric (FE) neuron demonstrated herein is the availability of both excitatory and inhibitory input connections in the compact 1T-1FEFET structure, which is also reported for the first time for any neuron implementations. Such dual neuron functionality is a key requirement for bio-mimetic neural networks and represents a breakthrough for implementation of the third generation spiking neural networks (SNNs)-also reported herein for unsupervised learning and clustering on real world data for the first time. The key to our demonstration is the careful design of two important device level features: (1) abrupt hysteretic transitions of the FEFET with no stable states therein, and (2) the dynamic tunability of the FEFET hysteresis by bias conditions which allows for the inhibition functionality. Experimentally calibrated, multi-domain Preisach based FEFET models were used to accurately simulate the FE neurons and project their performance at scaled nodes. We also implement an SNN for unsupervised clustering and benchmark the network performance across analog CMOS and emerging technologies and observe (1) unification of excitatory and inhibitory neural connections, (2) STDP based learning, (3) lowest reported power (3.6nW) during classification, andmore »(4) a classification accuracy of 93%.« less
  2. The notion that a neuron transmits the same set of neurotransmitters at all of its post-synaptic connections, typically known as Dale's law, is well supported throughout the majority of the brain and is assumed in almost all theoretical studies investigating the mechanisms for computation in neuronal networks. Dale's law has numerous functional implications in fundamental sensory processing and decision-making tasks, and it plays a key role in the current understanding of the structure-function relationship in the brain. However, since exceptions to Dale's law have been discovered for certain neurons and because other biological systems with complex network structure incorporate individual units that send both positive and negative feedback signals, we investigate the functional implications of network model dynamics that violate Dale's law by allowing each neuron to send out both excitatory and inhibitory signals to its neighbors. We show how balanced network dynamics, in which large excitatory and inhibitory inputs are dynamically adjusted such that input fluctuations produce irregular firing events, are theoretically preserved for a single population of neurons violating Dale's law. We further leverage this single-population network model in the context of two competing pools of neurons to demonstrate that effective decision-making dynamics are also produced, agreeing withmore »experimental observations from honeybee dynamics in selecting a food source and artificial neural networks trained in optimal selection. Through direct comparison with the classical two-population balanced neuronal network, we argue that the one-population network demonstrates more robust balanced activity for systems with less computational units, such as honeybee colonies, whereas the two-population network exhibits a more rapid response to temporal variations in network inputs, as required by the brain. We expect this study will shed light on the role of neurons violating Dale's law found in experiment as well as shared design principles across biological systems that perform complex computations.« less
  3. Synapses change on multiple timescales, ranging from milliseconds to minutes, due to a combination of both short- and long-term plasticity. Here we develop an extension of the common generalized linear model to infer both short- and long-term changes in the coupling between a pre- and postsynaptic neuron based on observed spiking activity. We model short-term synaptic plasticity using additive effects that depend on the presynaptic spike timing, and we model long-term changes in both synaptic weight and baseline firing rate using point process adaptive smoothing. Using simulations, we first show that this model can accurately recover time-varying synaptic weights (1) for both depressing and facilitating synapses, (2) with a variety of long-term changes (including realistic changes, such as due to STDP), (3) with a range of pre and postsynaptic firing rates, and (4) for both excitatory and inhibitory synapses. We then apply our model to two experimentally recorded putative synaptic connections. We find that simultaneously tracking fast changes in synaptic weights, slow changes in synaptic weights, and unexplained variations in baseline firing is essential. Omitting any one of these factors can lead to spurious inferences for the others. Altogether, this model provides a flexible framework for tracking short- and long-termmore »variation in spike transmission.« less
  4. Abstract As an important class of spiking neural networks (SNNs), recurrent spiking neural networks (RSNNs) possess great computational power and have been widely used for processing sequential data like audio and text. However, most RSNNs suffer from two problems. First, due to the lack of architectural guidance, random recurrent connectivity is often adopted, which does not guarantee good performance. Second, training of RSNNs is in general challenging, bottlenecking achievable model accuracy. To address these problems, we propose a new type of RSNN, skip-connected self-recurrent SNNs (ScSr-SNNs). Recurrence in ScSr-SNNs is introduced by adding self-recurrent connections to spiking neurons. The SNNs with self-recurrent connections can realize recurrent behaviors similar to those of more complex RSNNs, while the error gradients can be more straightforwardly calculated due to the mostly feedforward nature of the network. The network dynamics is enriched by skip connections between nonadjacent layers. Moreover, we propose a new backpropagation (BP) method, backpropagated intrinsic plasticity (BIP), to boost the performance of ScSr-SNNs further by training intrinsic model parameters. Unlike standard intrinsic plasticity rules that adjust the neuron's intrinsic parameters according to neuronal activity, the proposed BIP method optimizes intrinsic parameters based on the backpropagated error gradient of a well-defined global lossmore »function in addition to synaptic weight training. Based on challenging speech, neuromorphic speech, and neuromorphic image data sets, the proposed ScSr-SNNs can boost performance by up to 2.85% compared with other types of RSNNs trained by state-of-the-art BP methods.« less
  5. Detecting synaptic connections using large-scale extracellular spike recordings presents a statistical challenge. Although previous methods often treat the detection of each putative connection as a separate hypothesis test, here we develop a modeling approach that infers synaptic connections while incorporating circuit properties learned from the whole network. We use an extension of the generalized linear model framework to describe the cross-correlograms between pairs of neurons and separate correlograms into two parts: a slowly varying effect due to background fluctuations and a fast, transient effect due to the synapse. We then use the observations from all putative connections in the recording to estimate two network properties: the presynaptic neuron type (excitatory or inhibitory) and the relationship between synaptic latency and distance between neurons. Constraining the presynaptic neuron’s type, synaptic latencies, and time constants improves synapse detection. In data from simulated networks, this model outperforms two previously developed synapse detection methods, especially on the weak connections. We also apply our model to in vitro multielectrode array recordings from the mouse somatosensory cortex. Here, our model automatically recovers plausible connections from hundreds of neurons, and the properties of the putative connections are largely consistent with previous research. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Detecting synaptic connectionsmore »using large-scale extracellular spike recordings is a difficult statistical problem. Here, we develop an extension of a generalized linear model that explicitly separates fast synaptic effects and slow background fluctuations in cross-correlograms between pairs of neurons while incorporating circuit properties learned from the whole network. This model outperforms two previously developed synapse detection methods in the simulated networks and recovers plausible connections from hundreds of neurons in in vitro multielectrode array data.« less