A Low-Power Spiking Neural Network Chip Based on a Compact LIF Neuron and Binary Exponential Charge Injector Synapse Circuits

Sensors (Basel). 2021 Jun 29;21(13):4462. doi: 10.3390/s21134462.


To realize a large-scale Spiking Neural Network (SNN) on hardware for mobile applications, area and power optimized electronic circuit design is critical. In this work, an area and power optimized hardware implementation of a large-scale SNN for real time IoT applications is presented. The analog Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) implementation incorporates neuron and synaptic circuits optimized for area and power consumption. The asynchronous neuronal circuits implemented benefit from higher energy efficiency and higher sensitivity. The proposed synapse circuit based on Binary Exponential Charge Injector (BECI) saves area and power consumption, and provides design scalability for higher resolutions. The SNN model implemented is optimized for 9 × 9 pixel input image and minimum bit-width weights that can satisfy target accuracy, occupies less area and power consumption. Moreover, the spiking neural network is replicated in full digital implementation for area and power comparisons. The SNN chip integrated from neuron and synapse circuits is capable of pattern recognition. The proposed SNN chip is fabricated using 180 nm CMOS process, which occupies a 3.6 mm2 chip core area, and achieves a classification accuracy of 94.66% for the MNIST dataset. The proposed SNN chip consumes an average power of 1.06 mW-20 times lower than the digital implementation.

Keywords: CMOS; artificial intelligence; artificial neural networks; image classification; leaky integrate and fire; neuromorphic; spiking neural network.

MeSH terms

  • Computers
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Neurons
  • Semiconductors
  • Synapses*