Spiking neural networks (SNNs) are known as a typical kind of brain-inspired models with their unique features of rich neuronal dynamics, diverse coding schemes and low power consumption properties. How to obtain a high-accuracy model has always been the main challenge in the field of SNN. Currently, there are two mainstream methods, i.e., obtaining a converted SNN through converting a well-trained Artificial Neural Network (ANN) to its SNN counterpart or training an SNN directly. However, the inference time of a converted SNN is too long, while SNN training is generally very costly and inefficient. In this work, a new SNN training paradigm is proposed by combining the concepts of the two different training methods with the help of the pretrain technique and BP-based deep SNN training mechanism. We believe that the proposed paradigm is a more efficient pipeline for training SNNs. The pipeline includes pipeS for static data transfer tasks and pipeD for dynamic data transfer tasks. SOTA results are obtained in a large-scale event-driven dataset ES-ImageNet. For training acceleration, we achieve the same (or higher) best accuracy as similar LIF-SNNs using 1/10 training time on ImageNet-1K and 2/5 training time on ES-ImageNet and also provide a time-accuracy benchmark for a new dataset ES-UCF101. These experimental results reveal the similarity of the functions of parameters between ANNs and SNNs and also demonstrate the various potential applications of this SNN training pipeline.
With event-driven algorithms, especially the spiking neural networks (SNNs), achieving continuous improvement in neuromorphic vision processing, a more challenging event-stream-dataset is urgently needed. However, it is well known that creating an ES-dataset is a time-consuming and costly task with neuromorphic cameras like dynamic vision sensors (DVS). In this work, we propose a fast and effective algorithm termed Omnidirectional Discrete Gradient (ODG) to convert the popular computer vision dataset ILSVRC2012 into its event-stream (ES) version, generating about 1,300,000 frame-based images into ES-samples in 1000 categories. In this way, we propose an ES-dataset called ES-ImageNet, which is dozens of times larger than other neuromorphic classification datasets at present and completely generated by the software. The ODG algorithm implements an image motion to generate local value changes with discrete gradient information in different directions, providing a low-cost and high-speed way for converting frame-based images into event streams, along with Edge-Integral to reconstruct the high-quality images from event streams. Furthermore, we analyze the statistics of the ES-ImageNet in multiple ways, and a performance benchmark of the dataset is also provided using both famous deep neural network algorithms and spiking neural network algorithms. We believe that this work shall provide a new large-scale benchmark dataset for SNNs and neuromorphic vision.
How to effectively and efficiently deal with spatio-temporal event streams, where the events are generally sparse and non-uniform and have the microsecond temporal resolution, is of great value and has various real-life applications. Spiking neural network (SNN), as one of the brain-inspired event-triggered computing models, has the potential to extract effective spatio-temporal features from the event streams. However, when aggregating individual events into frames with a new higher temporal resolution, existing SNN models do not attach importance to that the serial frames have different signal-to-noise ratios since event streams are sparse and non-uniform. This situation interferes with the performance of existing SNNs. In this work, we propose a temporal-wise attention SNN (TA-SNN) model to learn frame-based representation for processing event streams. Concretely, we extend the attention concept to temporal-wise input to judge the significance of frames for the final decision at the training stage, and discard the irrelevant frames at the inference stage. We demonstrate that TA-SNN models improve the accuracy of event streams classification tasks. We also study the impact of multiple-scale temporal resolutions for frame-based representation. Our approach is tested on three different classification tasks: gesture recognition, image classification, and spoken digit recognition. We report the state-of-the-art results on these tasks, and get the essential improvement of accuracy (almost 19\%) for gesture recognition with only 60 ms.
Spiking neural networks (SNNs) based on Leaky Integrate and Fire (LIF) model have been applied to energy-efficient temporal and spatiotemporal processing tasks. Thanks to the bio-plausible neuronal dynamics and simplicity, LIF-SNN benefits from event-driven processing, however, usually faces the embarrassment of reduced performance. This may because in LIF-SNN the neurons transmit information via spikes. To address this issue, in this work, we propose a Leaky Integrate and Analog Fire (LIAF) neuron model, so that analog values can be transmitted among neurons, and a deep network termed as LIAF-Net is built on it for efficient spatiotemporal processing. In the temporal domain, LIAF follows the traditional LIF dynamics to maintain its temporal processing capability. In the spatial domain, LIAF is able to integrate spatial information through convolutional integration or fully-connected integration. As a spatiotemporal layer, LIAF can also be used with traditional artificial neural network (ANN) layers jointly. Experiment results indicate that LIAF-Net achieves comparable performance to Gated Recurrent Unit (GRU) and Long short-term memory (LSTM) on bAbI Question Answering (QA) tasks, and achieves state-of-the-art performance on spatiotemporal Dynamic Vision Sensor (DVS) datasets, including MNIST-DVS, CIFAR10-DVS and DVS128 Gesture, with much less number of synaptic weights and computational overhead compared with traditional networks built by LSTM, GRU, Convolutional LSTM (ConvLSTM) or 3D convolution (Conv3D). Compared with traditional LIF-SNN, LIAF-Net also shows dramatic accuracy gain on all these experiments. In conclusion, LIAF-Net provides a framework combining the advantages of both ANNs and SNNs for lightweight and efficient spatiotemporal information processing.