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Training Spiking Neural Networks Using Combined Learning Approaches...

by Daniel H Elbrecht, Maryam Parsa, Shruti R Kulkarni, John P Mitchell, Catherine D Schuman
Publication Type
Conference Paper
Book Title
2020 IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence (SSCI)
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1995 to 2001
Conference Name
IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence (SSCI)
Conference Location
Canberra, Australia
Conference Sponsor
Conference Date

Spiking neural networks (SNNs), the class of neural networks used in neuromorphic computing, are difficult to train using traditional back-propagation techniques. Spike timingdependent plasticity (STDP) is a biologically inspired learning mechanism that can be used to train SNNs. Evolutionary algorithms have also been demonstrated as a method for training SNNs. In this work, we explore the relationship between these two training methodologies. We evaluate STDP and evolutionary optimization as standalone methods for training networks, and also evaluate a combined approach where STDP weight updates are applied within an evolutionary algorithm. We also apply Bayesian hyperparameter optimization as a meta learner for each of the algorithms. We find that STDP by itself is not an ideal learning rule for randomly connected networks, while the inclusion of STDP within an evolutionary algorithm leads to similar performance, with a few interesting differences. This study suggests future work in understanding the relationship between network topology and learning rules.