Learning to Time-Decode in Spiking Neural Networks Through the Information Bottleneck

Nicolas Skatchkovsky, Osvaldo Simeone, Hyeryung Jang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

One of the key challenges in training Spiking Neural Networks (SNNs) is that target outputs typically come in the form of natural signals, such as labels for classification or images for generative models, and need to be encoded into spikes. This is done by handcrafting target spiking signals, which in turn implicitly fixes the mechanisms used to decode spikes into natural signals, e.g., rate decoding. The arbitrary choice of target signals and decoding rule generally impairs the capacity of the SNN to encode and process information in the timing of spikes. To address this problem, this work introduces a hybrid variational autoencoder architecture, consisting of an encoding SNN and a decoding Artificial Neural Network (ANN). The role of the decoding ANN is to learn how to best convert the spiking signals output by the SNN into the target natural signal. A novel end-to-end learning rule is introduced that optimizes a directed information bottleneck training criterion via surrogate gradients. We demonstrate the applicability of the technique in an experimental settings on various tasks, including real-life datasets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 - 35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2021
EditorsMarc'Aurelio Ranzato, Alina Beygelzimer, Yann Dauphin, Percy S. Liang, Jenn Wortman Vaughan
PublisherNeural information processing systems foundation
Pages17049-17059
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781713845393
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes
Event35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Dec 6 2021Dec 14 2021

Publication series

NameAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
Volume21
ISSN (Print)1049-5258

Conference

Conference35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2021
CityVirtual, Online
Period12/6/2112/14/21

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing

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