Deep Spiking Neural Network: Energy Efficiency Through Time based Coding
Spiking Neural Networks (SNNs) are promising for enabling low-power event-driven data analytics. The best performing SNNs for image recognition tasks are obtained by converting a trained deep learning Analog Neural Network (ANN) composed of Rectified Linear Unit (ReLU) activation to SNN consisting of Integrate-and-Fire (IF) neurons with ""proper"" firing thresholds. However, this has come at the cost of accuracy loss and higher inference latency due to lack of a notion of time. In this work, we propose an ANN to SNN conversion methodology that uses a time-based coding scheme, named Temporal-Switch-Coding (TSC), and a corresponding TSC spiking neuron model. Each input image pixel is presented using two spikes and the timing between the two spiking instants is proportional to the pixel intensity. The real-valued ReLU activations in ANN are encoded using the spike-times of the TSC neurons in the converted TSC-SNN. At most two memory accesses and two addition operations are performed for each synapse during the whole inference, which significantly improves the SNN energy efficiency. We demonstrate the proposed TSC-SNN for VGG-16, ResNet-20 and ResNet-34 SNNs on datasets including CIFAR-10 (93.63% top-1), CIFAR-100 (70.97% top-1) and ImageNet (73.46% top-1 accuracy). It surpasses the best inference accuracy of the converted rate-encoded SNN with 7-14.5 times lesser inference latency, and 30-60 times fewer addition operations and memory accesses per inference across datasets."