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Adaptive Smoothing Gradient Learning for Spiking Neural Networks

Ziming Wang · Runhao Jiang · Shuang Lian · Rui Yan · Huajin Tang

Exhibit Hall 1 #428
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Spiking neural networks (SNNs) with biologically inspired spatio-temporal dynamics demonstrate superior energy efficiency on neuromorphic architectures. Error backpropagation in SNNs is prohibited by the all-or-none nature of spikes. The existing solution circumvents this problem by a relaxation on the gradient calculation using a continuous function with a constant relaxation de- gree, so-called surrogate gradient learning. Nevertheless, such a solution introduces additional smoothing error on spike firing which leads to the gradients being estimated inaccurately. Thus, how to adaptively adjust the relaxation degree and eliminate smoothing error progressively is crucial. Here, we propose a methodology such that training a prototype neural network will evolve into training an SNN gradually by fusing the learnable relaxation degree into the network with random spike noise. In this way, the network learns adaptively the accurate gradients of loss landscape in SNNs. The theoretical analysis further shows optimization on such a noisy network could be evolved into optimization on the embedded SNN with shared weights progressively. Moreover, The experiments on static images, dynamic event streams, speech, and instrumental sounds show the proposed method achieves state-of-the-art performance across all the datasets with remarkable robustness on different relaxation degrees.

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