Breaking the millisecond barrier on SpiNNaker: implementing asynchronous event-based plastic models with microsecond resolution

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • X Lagorce
  • E. Stromatias
  • Francesco Galluppi
  • S-C Liu
  • RB Benosman


Spike-based neuromorphic sensors such as retinas and cochleas, change the way in which the world is sampled. Instead of producing data sampled at a constant rate, these sensors output spikes that are asynchronous and event driven. The event-based nature of neuromorphic sensors implies a complete paradigm shift in current perception algorithms toward those that emphasize the importance of precise timing. The spikes produced by these sensors usually have a time resolution in the order of microseconds. This high temporal resolution is a crucial factor in learning tasks. It is also widely used in the field of biological neural networks. Sound localization for instance relies on detecting time lags between the two ears which, in the barn owl, reaches a temporal resolution of 5 μs. Current available neuromorphic computation platforms such as SpiNNaker often limit their users to a time resolution in the order of milliseconds that is not compatible with the asynchronous outputs of neuromorphic sensors. To overcome these limitations and allow for the exploration of new types of neuromorphic computing architectures, we introduce a novel software framework on the SpiNNaker platform. This framework allows for simulations of spiking networks and plasticity mechanisms using a completely asynchronous and event-based scheme running with a microsecond time resolution. Results on two example networks using this new implementation are presented.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Issue number206
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2015

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