An unsupervised neuromorphic clustering algorithm
Abstract Brains perform complex tasks using a fraction of the power that would be required to do the same on a conventional computer. New neuromorphic hardware systems are now becoming widely available that are intended to emulate the more power efficient, highly parallel operation of brains. However, to use these systems in applications, we need “neuromorphic algorithms” that can run on them. Here we develop a spiking neural network model for neuromorphic hardware that uses spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) and lateral inhibition to perform unsupervised clustering. With this model, time-invariant, rate-coded datasets can be mapped into a feature space with a specified resolution, i.e. number of clusters, using exclusively neuromorphic hardware. We developed and tested implementations on the SpiNNaker neuromorphic system and on GPUs using the GeNN framework. We show that our neuromorphic clustering algorithm achieves results comparable to those of conventional clustering algorithms such as self-organizing maps, neural gas or k-means clustering. We then combine it with a previously reported supervised neuromorphic classifier network to demonstrate its practical use as a neuromorphic pre-processing module.