CARLsim 4: An open source library for large scale, biologically detailed spiking neural network simulation using heterogeneous clusters

Ting-Shou Chou, Hirak J. Kashyap, Jinwei Xing, Stanislav Listopad, Emily L. Rounds, Michael Beyeler, Nikil Dutt, Jeffrey L. Krichmar Proc IEEE IJCNN

Best Student Paper Nominee


Large-scale spiking neural network (SNN) simulations are challenging to implement, due to the memory and computation required to iteratively process the large set of neural state dynamics and updates. To meet these challenges, 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. Additionally, the present release adds new features, such as leaky-integrate-and-fire (LIF), 9-parameter Izhikevich, multi-compartment neuron models, and fourth order Runge Kutta integration.