skip to main content

Title: Deep physical neural networks trained with backpropagation
Abstract Deep-learning models have become pervasive tools in science and engineering. However, their energy requirements now increasingly limit their scalability 1 . Deep-learning accelerators 2–9 aim to perform deep learning energy-efficiently, usually targeting the inference phase and often by exploiting physical substrates beyond conventional electronics. Approaches so far 10–22 have been unable to apply the backpropagation algorithm to train unconventional novel hardware in situ. The advantages of backpropagation have made it the de facto training method for large-scale neural networks, so this deficiency constitutes a major impediment. Here we introduce a hybrid in situ–in silico algorithm, called physics-aware training, that applies backpropagation to train controllable physical systems. Just as deep learning realizes computations with deep neural networks made from layers of mathematical functions, our approach allows us to train deep physical neural networks made from layers of controllable physical systems, even when the physical layers lack any mathematical isomorphism to conventional artificial neural network layers. To demonstrate the universality of our approach, we train diverse physical neural networks based on optics, mechanics and electronics to experimentally perform audio and image classification tasks. Physics-aware training combines the scalability of backpropagation with the automatic mitigation of imperfections and noise achievable with in situ algorithms. Physical neural networks have the potential to perform machine learning faster and more energy-efficiently than conventional electronic processors and, more broadly, can endow physical systems with automatically designed physical functionalities, for example, for robotics 23–26 , materials 27–29 and smart sensors 30–32 .  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Spiking neural networks (SNNs) well support spatio-temporal learning and energy-efficient event-driven hardware neuromorphic processors. As an important class of SNNs, recurrent spiking neural networks (RSNNs) possess great computational power. However, the practical application of RSNNs is severely limited by challenges in training. Biologically-inspired unsupervised learning has limited capability in boosting the performance of RSNNs. On the other hand, existing backpropagation (BP) methods suffer from high complexity of unfolding in time, vanishing and exploding gradients, and approximate differentiation of discontinuous spiking activities when applied to RSNNs. To enable supervised training of RSNNs under a well-defined loss function, we present a novel Spike-Train level RSNNs Backpropagation (ST-RSBP) algorithm for training deep RSNNs. The proposed ST-RSBP directly computes the gradient of a rate-coded loss function defined at the output layer of the network w.r.t tunable parameters. The scalability of ST-RSBP is achieved by the proposed spike-train level computation during which temporal effects of the SNN is captured in both the forward and backward pass of BP. Our ST-RSBP algorithm can be broadly applied to RSNNs with a single recurrent layer or deep RSNNs with multiple feedforward and recurrent layers. Based upon challenging speech and image datasets including TI46, N-TIDIGITS, Fashion-MNIST and MNIST, ST-RSBP is able to train SNNs with an accuracy surpassing that of the current state-of-the-art SNN BP algorithms and conventional non-spiking deep learning models. 
    more » « less
  2. Spiking neural networks (SNNs) are positioned to enable spatio-temporal information processing and ultra-low power event-driven neuromorphic hardware. However, SNNs are yet to reach the same performances of conventional deep artificial neural networks (ANNs), a long-standing challenge due to complex dynamics and non-differentiable spike events encountered in training. The existing SNN error backpropagation (BP) methods are limited in terms of scalability, lack of proper handling of spiking discontinuities, and/or mismatch between the rate coded loss function and computed gradient. We present a hybrid macro/micro level backpropagation (HM2-BP) algorithm for training multi-layer SNNs. The temporal effects are precisely captured by the proposed spike-train level post-synaptic potential (S-PSP) at the microscopic level. The rate-coded errors are defined at the macroscopic level, computed and back-propagated across both macroscopic and microscopic levels. Different from existing BP methods, HM2-BP directly computes the gradient of the rate-coded loss function w.r.t tunable parameters. We evaluate the proposed HM2-BP algorithm by training deep fully connected and convolutional SNNs based on the static MNIST [14] and dynamic neuromorphic N-MNIST [26]. HM2-BP achieves an accuracy level of 99:49% and 98:88% for MNIST and N-MNIST, respectively, outperforming the best reported performances obtained from the existing SNN BP algorithms. Furthermore, the HM2-BP produces the highest accuracies based on SNNs for the EMNIST [3] dataset, and leads to high recognition accuracy for the 16-speaker spoken English letters of TI46 Corpus [16], a challenging spatio-temporal speech recognition benchmark for which no prior success based on SNNs was reported. It also achieves competitive performances surpassing those of conventional deep learning models when dealing with asynchronous spiking streams. 
    more » « less
  3. Current deep learning architectures are growing larger in order to learn from complex datasets. These architectures require giant matrix multiplication operations to train millions of parameters. Conversely, there is another growing trend to bring deep learning to low-power, embedded devices. The matrix operations, associated with the training and testing of deep networks, are very expensive from a computational and energy standpoint. We present a novel hashing-based technique to drastically reduce the amount of computation needed to train and test neural networks. Our approach combines two recent ideas, Adaptive Dropout and Randomized Hashing for Maximum Inner Product Search (MIPS), to select the nodes with the highest activations efficiently. Our new algorithm for deep learning reduces the overall computational cost of the forward and backward propagation steps by operating on significantly fewer nodes. As a consequence, our algorithm uses only 5% of the total multiplications, while keeping within 1% of the accuracy of the original model on average. A unique property of the proposed hashing-based back-propagation is that the updates are always sparse. Due to the sparse gradient updates, our algorithm is ideally suited for asynchronous, parallel training, leading to near-linear speedup, as the number of cores increases. We demonstrate the scalability and sustainability (energy efficiency) of our proposed algorithm via rigorous experimental evaluations on several datasets. 
    more » « less
  4. Matrix multiplication is one of the bottleneck computations for training the weights within deep neural networks. To speed up the training phase, we propose to use faster algorithms for matrix multiplication known as Arbitrary Precision Approximating (APA) algorithms. APA algorithms perform asymptotically fewer arithmetic operations than the classical algorithm, but they compute an approximate result with an error that can be made arbitrarily small in exact arithmetic. Practical APA algorithms provide significant reduction in computation time and still provide enough accuracy for many applications like neural network training. We demonstrate that APA algorithms can be efficiently implemented and parallelized for multicore CPUs to obtain up to 28% and 21% speedups over the fastest implementation of the classical algorithm using one core and 12 cores, respectively. Furthermore, using these algorithms to train a Multi-Layer Perceptron (MLP) network yields no significant reduction in the training or testing error. Our performance results on a large MLP network show overall sequential and multithreaded performance improvements of up to 25% and 13%, respectively. We also demonstrate up to 15% improvement when training the fully connected layers of the VGG-19 image classification network. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    The incorporation of high‐performance optoelectronic devices into photonic neuromorphic processors can substantially accelerate computationally intensive matrix multiplication operations in machine learning (ML) algorithms. However, the conventional designs of individual devices and system are largely disconnected, and the system optimization is limited to the manual exploration of a small design space. Here, a device‐system end‐to‐end design methodology is reported to optimize a free‐space optical general matrix multiplication (GEMM) hardware accelerator by engineering a spatially reconfigurable array made from chalcogenide phase change materials. With a highly parallelized integrated hardware emulator with experimental information, the design of unit device to directly optimize GEMM calculation accuracy is achieved by exploring a large parameter space through reinforcement learning algorithms, including deep Q‐learning neural network, Bayesian optimization, and their cascaded approach. The algorithm‐generated physical quantities show a clear correlation between system performance metrics and device specifications. Furthermore, physics‐aware training approaches are employed to deploy optimized hardware to the tasks of image classification, materials discovery, and a closed‐loop design of optical ML accelerators. The demonstrated framework offers insights into the end‐to‐end and co‐design of optoelectronic devices and systems with reduced human supervision and domain knowledge barriers.

    more » « less