An Event-Driven and Fully Synthesizable Architecture for Spiking Neural Networks

μBrain, a lightweight neuromorphic inference engine for ultra-low power applications in the IoT domain. It offers an alternative to neural network accelerators when there is a high degree of sparsity (temporal, low-rate) in the input signal that can be exploited to reduce power consumption.



“The development of brain-inspired neuromorphic computing architectures as a paradigm for Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the edge is a candidate solution that can meet strict energy and cost reduction constraints in the Internet of Things (IoT) application areas. Toward this goal, we present μBrain: the first digital yet fully event-driven without clock architecture, with co-located memory and processing capability that exploits event-based processing to reduce an always-on system’s overall energy consumption (μW dynamic operation). The chip area in a 40 nm Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) digital technology is 2.82 mm2 including pads (without pads 1.42 mm2). This small area footprint enables μBrain integration in re-trainable sensor ICs to perform various signal processing tasks, such as data preprocessing, dimensionality reduction, feature selection, and application-specific inference. We present an instantiation of the μBrain architecture in a 40 nm CMOS digital chip and demonstrate its efficiency in a radar-based gesture classification with a power consumption of 70 μW and energy consumption of 340 nJ per classification. As a digital architecture, μBrain is fully synthesizable and lends to a fast development-to-deployment cycle in Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC). To the best of our knowledge, μBrain is the first tiny-scale digital, spike-based, fully parallel, non-Von-Neumann architecture (without schedules, clocks, nor state machines). For these reasons, μBrain is ultra-low-power and offers software-to-hardware fidelity. μBrain enables always-on neuromorphic computing in IoT sensor nodes that require running on battery power for years.”

View this technical paper here. Published 05/2021.

Stuijt J, Sifalakis M, Yousefzadeh A and Corradi F (2021) μBrain: An Event-Driven and Fully Synthesizable Architecture for Spiking Neural Networks. Front. Neurosci. 15:664208.


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