We have developed CARLsim 4, a user-friendly SNN library written in C++ that can simulate large biologically detailed neural networks. Improving on the efficiency and scalability of earlier releases, the present release allows for the simulation using multiple GPUs and multiple CPU cores concurrently in a heterogeneous computing cluster. Benchmarking results demonstrate simulation of 8.6 million neurons and 0.48 billion synapses using 4 GPUs and up to 60x speedup for multi-GPU implementations over a single-threaded CPU implementation, making CARLsim 4 well-suited for large-scale SNN models in the presence of real-time constraints.
We present a cortical neural network model for visually guided navigation that has been embodied on a physical robot exploring a real-world environment. The model includes a rate based motion energy model for area V1, and a spiking neural network model for cortical area MT. The model generates a cortical representation of optic flow, determines the position of objects based on motion discontinuities, and combines these signals with the representation of a goal location to produce motor commands that successfully steer the robot around obstacles toward the goal. This study demonstrates how neural signals in a model of cortical area MT might provide sufficient motion information to steer a physical robot on human-like paths around obstacles in a real-world environment.
We have developed CARLsim 3, a user-friendly, GPU-accelerated SNN library written in C/C++ that is capable of simulating biologically detailed neural models. The present release of CARLsim provides a number of improvements over our prior SNN library to allow the user to easily analyze simulation data, explore synaptic plasticity rules, and automate parameter tuning. In the present paper, we provide examples and performance benchmarks highlighting the library's features.
We present a two-stage model of visual area MT that we believe to be the first large-scale spiking network to demonstrate pattern direction selectivity. In this model, component-direction-selective (CDS) cells in MT linearly combine inputs from V1 cells that have spatiotemporal receptive fields according to the motion energy model of Simoncelli and Heeger. Pattern-direction-selective (PDS) cells in MT are constructed by pooling over MT CDS cells with a wide range of preferred directions. Responses of our model neurons are comparable to electrophysiological results for grating and plaid stimuli as well as speed tuning.
We describe a simulation environment that can be used to design, construct, and run spiking neural networks (SNNs) quickly and efficiently using graphics processing units (GPUs). We then explain how the design of the simulation environment utilizes the parallel processing power of GPUs to simulate large-scale SNNs and describe recent modeling experiments performed using the simulator. Finally, we present an automated parameter tuning framework that utilizes the simulation environment and evolutionary algorithms to tune SNNs.
We present a large-scale model of a hierarchical spiking neural network (SNN) that integrates a low-level memory encoding mechanism with a higher-level decision process to perform a visual classification task in real-time. The model consists of Izhikevich neurons and conductance-based synapses for realistic approximation of neuronal dynamics, a spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) synaptic learning rule with additional synaptic dynamics for memory encoding, and an accumulator model for memory retrieval and categorization. The full network, which comprised 71,026 neurons and approximately 133 million synapses, ran in real-time on a single off-the-shelf graphics processing unit (GPU). The network achieved 92% correct classifications on MNIST in 100 rounds of random sub-sampling, which is comparable to other SNN approaches and provides a conservative and reliable performance metric. Additionally, the model correctly predicted reaction times from psychophysical experiments. Because of the scalability of the approach and its neurobiological fidelity, the current model can be extended to an efficient neuromorphic implementation that supports more generalized object recognition and decision-making architectures found in the brain.