Purdue University Graduate School
PhD_Thesis_Jason_Allred_submitted.pdf (8.44 MB)

Adapting Neural Network Learning Algorithms for Neuromorphic Implementations

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posted on 2021-07-30, 01:48 authored by Jason M AllredJason M Allred
Computing with Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) is a branch of machine learning that has seen substantial growth over the last decade, significantly increasing the accuracy and capability of machine learning systems. ANNs are connected networks of computing elements inspired by the neuronal connectivity in the brain. Spiking Neural Networks (SNNs) are a type of ANN that operate with event-driven computation, inspired by the “spikes” or firing events of individual neurons in the brain. Neuromorphic computing—the implementation of neural networks in hardware—seeks to improve the energy efficiency of these machine learning systems either by computing directly with device physical primitives, by bypassing the software layer of logical implementations, or by operating with SNN event-driven computation. Such implementations may, however, have added restrictions, including weight-localized learning and hard-wired connections. Further obstacles, such as catastrophic forgetting, the lack of supervised error signals, and storage and energy constraints, are encountered when these systems need to perform autonomous online, real-time learning in an unknown, changing environment.

Adapting neural network learning algorithms for these constraints can help address these issues. Specifically, corrections to Spike Timing-Dependent Plasticity (STDP) can stabilize local, unsupervised learning; accounting for the statistical firing properties of spiking neurons may improve conversions from non-spiking to spiking networks; biologically-inspired dopaminergic and habituation adjustments to STDP can limit catastrophic forgetting; convolving temporally instead of spatially can provide for localized weight sharing with direct synaptic connections; and explicitly training for spiking sparsity can significantly reduce computational energy consumption.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Electrical and Computer Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Kaushik Roy

Additional Committee Member 2

Anand Raghunathan

Additional Committee Member 3

Vijay Raghunathan

Additional Committee Member 4

Okan Ersoy