Automatic Optimization of the Computation Graph in the Nengo Neural Network Simulator

Frontiers in Neuroinformatics, 2017

Jan Gosmann, Chris Eliasmith

Abstract

One critical factor limiting the size of neural cognitive models is the time required to simulate such models. To reduce simulation time, specialized hardware is often used. However, such hardware can be costly, not readily available, or require specialized software implementations that are difficult to maintain. Here, we present an algorithm that optimizes the computational graph of the Nengo neural network simulator, allowing simulations to run more quickly on commodity hardware. This is achieved by merging identical operations into single operations and restructuring the accessed data in larger blocks of sequential memory. In this way, a time speed-up of up to 6.8 is obtained. While this does not beat the specialized OpenCL implementation of Nengo, this optimization is available on any platform that can run Python. In contrast, the OpenCL implementation supports fewer platforms and can be difficult to install.

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Doi
10.3389/fninf.2017.00033
Journal
Frontiers in Neuroinformatics
Issn
1662-5196
Volume
11
Pages
33

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