Attentional Processing on a Spike-Based VLSI Neural Network

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 19 (NIPS 2006)

Bibtex Metadata Paper


Yingxue Wang, Rodney Douglas, Shih-Chii Liu


The neurons of the neocortex communicate by asynchronous events called action potentials (or 'spikes'). However, for simplicity of simulation, most models of processing by cortical neural networks have assumed that the activations of their neurons can be approximated by event rates rather than taking account of individual spikes. The obstacle to exploring the more detailed spike processing of these networks has been reduced considerably in recent years by the development of hybrid analog-digital Very-Large Scale Integrated (hVLSI) neural networks composed of spiking neurons that are able to operate in real-time. In this paper we describe such a hVLSI neural network that performs an interesting task of selective attentional processing that was previously described for a simulated 'pointer-map' rate model by Hahnloser and colleagues. We found that most of the computational features of their rate model can be reproduced in the spiking implementation; but, that spike-based processing requires a modification of the original network architecture in order to memorize a previously attended target.