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Published by vinay999

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Published by: vinay999 on Jun 10, 2008
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 NEURAL networks are computational models of the brain. These networks aregood at solving problems for which a solutions seems easy to obtain for the brain, but requires a lot of efforts using standard algorithmic techniques. Examples of such problems are pattern recognition, perception, generalization and non-linear control. In the brain, all communication between neurons occurs using action potentials or spikes. In classical neural models these individual spikes areaveraged out in time and all interaction is identified by the mean firing rate of theneurons.Recently there has been an increasing interest in more complexmodels, which take the individual spikes into account. This sudden interest iscatalyzed by the fact that these more realistic models are very well suited for hardware implementations. In addition they are computationally stronger thanclassic neural networks.Spiking neural networks are better suited for hardwareimplementations due to two facts: inter-neuron communication consists of single bits and the neurons themselves are actually only weighed leaky integrators.Because only single bits of information need to be transmitted, a single wire issufficient for connection between two neurons. Thereby the routing of neuralinterconnection
on a 2D chip is implied. The neural model that isused is the ‘integrate-and-fire’ model. Neurons here are leakyintegrators, which fire and reset the neuron when a threshold isreached (fig.1).
Fig. 1. An integrate-and-fire neuron.
Our research will primarily concentrate on digital implementationsof these integrate-and-fire neurons. They can be implemented on standardreconfigurable hardware like Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). Now we will focus on the embedded side of the story. A current trendis to equip lots of devices with extra logic to make them interact moreintelligently with their environment (ambient intelligence). This Intelligence is provided by an embedded system. Such an embedded system normally consists of a general purpose processor, some memory, interface hardware and some customhardware executing very time critical tasks.Recently the hardwired custom hardware gets replaced by areconfigurable hardware component (fig. 2).
Fig. 2. An embedded architecture with an FPGA closely linkedtothe memory and CPU.
This way the function of that component can be redefined after design andmanufacturing.
This research will investigate if it is possible to implement spikingneural networks on re configurable hardware. More specifically it willconcentrate on embedded devices
because they have the advantagethat a
 processor is closely linked to the neural module, which can coordinatelearning, reconfiguration, etc. Furthermore it will research data representation,suitable spiking neural models, training, architecture and space/time-considerations.Different spiking neural models will be investigated to see which are best suited for hardware implementation and is computationally the mostinteresting. Here both speed and area are important aspects.

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