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Société de l'information et de la communication (DS07) 2017
Projet SOMA

Auto-organisation dans les architectures matérielles neuromorphiques

The tremendous increase of transistors integration during the last few years has reached the limits
of classic Von Neuman architectures. This has enabled a wide adoption of parallel processors by the
industry, enabling many-core processing architectures as a natural trend for the next generation of
computing devices. Nonetheless, one major issue of such massively parallel processors is the design
and the deployment of applications that cannot make an optimal use of the available hardware
resources. This limit is even more acute when we consider application domains where the system
evolves under unknown and uncertain conditions such as mobile robotics, IoT, autonomous vehicles
or drones. In the end, it is impossible to foresee every possible context that the system will face
during its lifetime, making thus impossible to identify the optimal hardware substrate to be used.
Interestingly enough, the biological brain has ”solved” this problem using a dedicated architecture
and mechanisms that offer both adaptive and dynamic computations, namely, self-organization.
However, even if neuro-biological systems have often been a source of inspiration for computer
science (as recently demonstrated by the renewed interest in deep-learning), the transcription of
self-organization at the hardware level is not straightforward and requires a number of challenges to
be taken-up.
The first challenge is to extend the usual self-organization mechanisms to account for the dual
levels of computation and communication in a hardware neuromorphic architecture. From a
biological point of view, this corresponds to a combination of the so-called synaptic and structural
plasticities. We intend to define computational models able to simultaneously self-organize at both
levels, and we want these models to be hardware-compliant, fault tolerant and scalable by means
of a neuro-cellular structure. The second challenge is to prove the feasibility of a self-organizing
hardware structure. Considering that these properties emerge from large scale and fully connected
neural maps, we will focus on the definition of a self-organizing hardware architecture based on
digital spiking neurons that offer hardware efficiency. The third challenge consists in coupling
this new computation paradigm with an underlying conventional manycore architecture. This will
require the specification of a Network-on-Chip that adapts to self-organizing hardware resources,
as well as the definition of a programming model using the learning of input data to better and
automatically divide and allocate functional elements.
Hence, this project is a convergence point between past research approaches toward new computation
paradigms: adaptive reconfigurable architecture, cellular computing, computational neuroscience,
and neuromorphic hardware.
1. SOMA is an adaptive reconfigurable architecture to the extent that it will dynamically reorganize
both its computation and its communication by adapting itself to the data to process.
2. SOMA is based on cellular computing since it targets a massively parallel, distributed and
decentralized neuromorphic architecture.
3. SOMA is based on computational neuroscience since its self-organization capabilities are inspired
from neural mechanisms.
4. SOMA is a neuromorphic hardware system since its organization emerges from the interactions
between neural maps transposed into hardware from brain observation.
This project represents a significant step toward the definition of a true fine-grained distributed,
adaptive and decentralized neural computation framework. This new computing
framework may indeed represent a viable integration of neuromorphic computing into the classical
Von Neumann architecture and could endow these hardware systems with novel adaptive properties.


HES-SO Haute école specialisée de la Suisse Occidentale

LEAT Laboratoire d'électronique antennes et télécommunications

LORIA Laboratoire lorrain de recherche en informatique et ses applications

MNEMOSYNE Mnemonic Synergy

Aide de l'ANR 413 308 euros
Début et durée du projet scientifique - 36 mois


Programme ANR : Société de l'information et de la communication (DS07) 2017

Référence projet : ANR-17-CE24-0036

Coordinateur du projet :
Monsieur Benoît Miramond (Laboratoire d'électronique antennes et télécommunications)


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L'auteur de ce résumé est le coordinateur du projet, qui est responsable du contenu de ce résumé. L'ANR décline par conséquent toute responsabilité quant à son contenu.