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Dr Themis Prodromakis

University of Southampton
Nano Group, Southampton Nanofabrication Centre
Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK
+44 (0)23 8059 8803
t.prodromakis@soton.ac.uk
 

A Proposal for Hybrid Memristor-CMOS Spiking Neuromorphic Learning Systems

Authors: T Serrano-Gotarredona, T. Prodromakis, B Linares-Barranco

Published by: IEEE Circuits and Systems Magazine

Recent research in nanotechnology has led to the practical realization of nanoscale devices that behave as memristors, a device that was postulated in the seventies by Chua based on circuit theoretical reasonings. On the other hand, neuromorphic engineering, a discipline that implements physical artifacts based on neuroscience knowledge, has related neural learning mechanisms to the operation of memristors. As a result, neuro-inspired learning architectures
can be proposed that exploit nanoscale memristors for building very large scale systems with very dense synaptic-like memory elements. At present, the deep understanding of the internal mechanisms governing memristor operation is still an open issue, and the practical realization of very large scale and reliable "memristive fabric" for neural learning applications is not a reality yet. However, in the meantime, researchers are proposing and analyzing potential
circuit architectures that would combine a standard CMOS substrate with a memristive nanoscale fabric on top to realize hybrid memristor-CMOS neural learning systems. The focus of this paper is on one such architecture for implementing the very well established Spike-Timing-Dependent-Plasticity (STDP) learning mechanism found in biology. In this paper we quickly review spiking neural systems, STDP learning, and memristors, and propose a hybrid memristor-CMOS system architecture with the potential of implementing a large scale STDP learning spiking neural system. Such architecture would eventually allow to implement real-time brain-like processing.

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