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Immunity to Device Variations in a Spiking Neural Network With Memristive Nanodevices

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4 Author(s)
Damien Querlioz ; Institut d’Electronique Fondamentale, University of Paris-Sud, Orsay, France ; Olivier Bichler ; Philippe Dollfus ; Christian Gamrat

Memristive nanodevices can feature a compact multilevel nonvolatile memory function, but are prone to device variability. We propose a novel neural network-based computing paradigm, which exploits their specific physics, and which has virtual immunity to their variability. Memristive devices are used as synapses in a spiking neural network performing unsupervised learning. They learn using a simplified and customized “spike timing dependent plasticity” rule. In the network, neurons' threshold is adjusted following a homeostasis-type rule. We perform system level simulations with an experimentally verified model of the memristive devices' behavior. They show, on the textbook case of character recognition, that performance can compare with traditional supervised networks of similar complexity. They also show that the system can retain functionality with extreme variations of various memristive devices' parameters (a relative standard dispersion of more than 50% is tolerated on all device parameters), thanks to the robustness of the scheme, its unsupervised nature, and the capability of homeostasis. Additionally the network can adjust to stimuli presented with different coding schemes, is particularly robust to read disturb effects and does not require unrealistic control on the devices' conductance. These results open the way for a novel design approach for ultraadaptive electronic systems.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology  (Volume:12 ,  Issue: 3 )