A 22-pJ/spike 73-Mspikes/s 130k-compartment neural array transceiver with conductance-based synaptic and membrane dynamics

Jongkil Park, Sohmyung Ha, Theodore Yu, Emre Neftci, Gert Cauwenberghs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neuromorphic cognitive computing offers a bio-inspired means to approach the natural intelligence of biological neural systems in silicon integrated circuits. Typically, such circuits either reproduce biophysical neuronal dynamics in great detail as tools for computational neuroscience, or abstract away the biology by simplifying the functional forms of neural computation in large-scale systems for machine intelligence with high integration density and energy efficiency. Here we report a hybrid which offers biophysical realism in the emulation of multi-compartmental neuronal network dynamics at very large scale with high implementation efficiency, and yet with high flexibility in configuring the functional form and the network topology. The integrate-and-fire array transceiver (IFAT) chip emulates the continuous-time analog membrane dynamics of 65 k two-compartment neurons with conductance-based synapses. Fired action potentials are registered as address-event encoded output spikes, while the four types of synapses coupling to each neuron are activated by address-event decoded input spikes for fully reconfigurable synaptic connectivity, facilitating virtual wiring as implemented by routing address-event spikes externally through synaptic routing table. Peak conductance strength of synapse activation specified by the address-event input spans three decades of dynamic range, digitally controlled by pulse width and amplitude modulation (PWAM) of the drive voltage activating the log-domain linear synapse circuit. Two nested levels of micro-pipelining in the IFAT architecture improve both throughput and efficiency of synaptic input. This two-tier micro-pipelining results in a measured sustained peak throughput of 73 Mspikes/s and overall chip-level energy efficiency of 22 pJ/spike. Non-uniformity in digitally encoded synapse strength due to analog mismatch is mitigated through single-point digital offset calibration. Combined with the flexibly layered and recurrent synaptic connectivity provided by hierarchical address-event routing of registered spike events through external memory, the IFAT lends itself to efficient large-scale emulation of general biophysical spiking neural networks, as well as rate-based mapping of rectified linear unit (ReLU) neural activations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1198306
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
StatePublished - 2023


  • address event representation (AER)
  • asynchronous pipelining
  • conductance-based synapse
  • dendritic computation
  • integrate-and-fire array transceiver (IFAT)
  • log-domain translinear circuits
  • neuromorphic cognitive computing
  • rectified linear unit (ReLU)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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