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  1. Command and control (C2) data links over cellular networks is envisioned to be a reliable communications modality for various types of missions for Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The planning of UAS traffic and the provision of cellular communication resources are cross-coupled decisions that should be analyzed together to understand the quality of service such a modality can provide that meets business needs. The key to effective planning is the accurate estimation of communication link quality and the resource usage for a given air traffic requirement. In this work, a simulation and modelling framework is developed that integrates two open-source simulation platforms, Repast Simphony and ns-3, to generate UAS missions over different geographical areas and simulates the provision of 4G/5G cellular network connectivity to support their C2 and mission data links. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first simulator that co-simulates air traffic and cellular network communications for UAS while leveraging standardized 3GPP propagation models and incorporating detailed management of communication channels (i.e., resource blocks) at the cellular base station level. Three experiments were executed to demonstrate how the integrated simulation platform can be used to provide guidelines in communication resource allocation, air traffic management, and mission safetymore »management in beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations.« less
  2. The recently discovered spatial-temporal information processing capability of bio-inspired Spiking neural networks (SNN) has enabled some interesting models and applications. However designing large-scale and high-performance model is yet a challenge due to the lack of robust training algorithms. A bio-plausible SNN model with spatial-temporal property is a complex dynamic system. Synapses and neurons behave as filters capable of preserving temporal information. As such neuron dynamics and filter effects are ignored in existing training algorithms, the SNN downgrades into a memoryless system and loses the ability of temporal signal processing. Furthermore, spike timing plays an important role in information representation, but conventional rate-based spike coding models only consider spike trains statistically, and discard information carried by its temporal structures. To address the above issues, and exploit the temporal dynamics of SNNs, we formulate SNN as a network of infinite impulse response (IIR) filters with neuron nonlinearity. We proposed a training algorithm that is capable to learn spatial-temporal patterns by searching for the optimal synapse filter kernels and weights. The proposed model and training algorithm are applied to construct associative memories and classifiers for synthetic and public datasets including MNIST, NMNIST, DVS 128 etc. Their accuracy outperforms state-of-the-art approaches.

  3. Driven by the expanse of Internet of Things (IoT) and Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), there is an increasing demand to process streams of temporal data on embedded devices with limited energy and power resources. Among all potential solutions, neuromorphic computing with spiking neural networks (SNN) that mimic the behavior of brain, have recently been placed at the forefront. Encoding information into sparse and distributed spike events enables low-power implementations, and the complex spatial temporal dynamics of synapses and neurons enable SNNs to detect temporal pattern. However, most existing hardware SNN implementations use simplified neuron and synapse models ignoring synapse dynamic, which is critical for temporal pattern detection and other applications that require temporal dynamics. To adopt a more realistic synapse model in neuromorphic platform its significant computation overhead must be addressed. In this work, we propose an FPGA-based SNN with biologically realistic neuron and synapse for temporal information processing. An encoding scheme to convert continuous real-valued information into sparse spike events is presented. The event-driven implementation of synapse dynamic model and its hardware design that is optimized to exploit the sparsity are also presented. Finally, we train the SNN on various temporal pattern-learning tasks and evaluate its performance and efficiency asmore »compared to rate-based models and artificial neural networks on different embedded platforms. Experiments show that our work can achieve 10X speed up and 196X gains in energy efficiency compared with GPU.« less
  4. Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology is a rapidly growing field with tremendous opportunities for research and applications. To achieve true autonomy for UAVs in the absence of remote control, external navigation aids like global navigation satellite systems and radar systems, a minimum energy trajectory planning that considers obstacle avoidance and stability control will be the key. Although this can be formulated as a constrained optimization problem, due to the complicated non-linear relationships between UAV trajectory and thrust control, it is almost impossible to be solved analytically. While deep reinforcement learning is known for its ability to provide model free optimization for complex system through learning, its state space, actions and reward functions must be designed carefully. This paper presents our vision of different layers of autonomy in a UAV system, and our effort in generating and tracking the trajectory both using deep reinforcement learning (DRL). The experimental results show that compared to conventional approaches, the learned trajectory will need 20% less control thrust and 18% less time to reach the target. Furthermore, using the control policy learning by DRL, the UAV will achieve 58.14% less position error and 21.77% less system power.
  5. Asynchronous event-driven computation and communication using spikes facilitate the realization of spiking neural networks (SNN) to be massively parallel, extremely energy efficient and highly robust on specialized neuromorphic hardware. However, the lack of a unified robust learning algorithm limits the SNN to shallow networks with low accuracies. Artificial neural networks (ANN), however, have the backpropagation algorithm which can utilize gradient descent to train networks which are locally robust universal function approximators. But backpropagation algorithm is neither biologically plausible nor neuromorphic implementation friendly because it requires: 1) separate backward and forward passes, 2) differentiable neurons, 3) high-precision propagated errors, 4) coherent copy of weight matrices at feedforward weights and the backward pass, and 5) non-local weight update. Thus, we propose an approximation of the backpropagation algorithm completely with spiking neurons and extend it to a local weight update rule which resembles a biologically plausible learning rule spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP). This will enable error propagation through spiking neurons for a more biologically plausible and neuromorphic implementation friendly backpropagation algorithm for SNNs. We test the proposed algorithm on various traditional and non-traditional benchmarks with competitive results.