Spiking neural networks (SNNs) are well suited for functions such as data/pattern classification, estimation, prediction, signal processing and robotic control applications. Whereas the real-world embedded applications are often multi-functional with orthogonal or contradicting functional requirements. The EMBRACE hardware modular SNN architecture has been previously reported as an embedded computing platform for complex real-world applications. The EMBRACE architecture employs genetic algorithm (GA) for training the SNN which offers faster prototyping of SNN applications, but exhibits a number of limitations including poor scalability and search space explosions for the evolution of large-scale, complex, real-world applications. This paper investigates the limitations of evolving real-world embedded applications with orthogonal functional goals on hardware SNN using GA-based training. This paper presents a novel, fast and efficient application prototyping technique using the EMBRACE hardware modular SNN architecture and the GA-based evolution platform. Modular design and evolution of a robotic navigational controller application decomposed into obstacle avoidance controller and speed and direction manager application subtasks is presented. The proposed modular evolution technique successfully integrates the orthogonal functionalities of the application and helps to overcome contradicting application scenarios gracefully. Results illustrate that the modular evolution of the application reduces the SNN configuration search space and complexity for the GA-based SNN evolution, offering rapid and successful prototyping of complex applications on the hardware SNN platform. The paper presents validation results of the evolved robotic application implemented on the EMBRACE architecture prototyped on Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA interacting with the player-stage robotics simulator.
Neural Computing and Applications – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 8, 2016
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