Low Precision Quantization-aware Training in Spiking Neural Networks with Differentiable Quantization Function

Ayan Shymyrbay, Mohammed E. Fouda, Ahmed Eltawil

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Deep neural networks have been proven to be highly effective tools in various domains, yet their computational and memory costs restrict them from being widely deployed on portable devices. The recent rapid increase of edge computing devices has led to an active search for techniques to address the abovementioned limitations of machine learning frameworks. The quantization of artificial neural networks (ANNs), which converts the full-precision synaptic weights into low-bit versions, emerged as one of the solutions. At the same time, spiking neural networks (SNNs) have become an attractive alternative to conventional ANNs due to their temporal information processing capability, energy efficiency, and high biological plausibility. Despite being driven by the same motivation, the simultaneous utilization of both concepts has yet to be thoroughly studied. Therefore, this work aims to bridge the gap between recent progress in quantized neural networks and SNNs. It presents an extensive study on the performance of the quantization function, represented as a linear combination of sigmoid functions, exploited in low-bit weight quantization in SNNs. The presented quantization function demonstrates the state-of-the-art performance on four popular benchmarks, CIFAR10-DVS, DVS128 Gesture, N-Caltech101, and N-MNIST, for binary networks (64.05%, 95.45%, 68.71%, and 99.43% respectively) with small accuracy drops and up to 31 × memory savings, which outperforms existing methods.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2023 International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN)
StatePublished - Aug 2 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-08-07
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): ORA-2021-CRG10-4704
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology under the award ORA-2021- CRG10-4704.


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