The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.

Evolution Sets the Stage for More Powerful Spiking Neural Networks

Indirect encoding of neural network components creates a pathway to complex applications for neural networks.

The Science

Spiking neural networks (SNNs) are a type of artificial neural network that most closely replicates the structure of the human brain. This makes SNNs an important step on the road to developing artificial intelligence. Researchers recently advanced a key technique for training SNNs using an evolutionary approach. This approach involves recognizing and making use of the different strengths of individual elements of the SNN, called “encodings.” The researchers’ approach involves indirect encoding, which replicates encodings instead of creating an entirely new encoding for each individual. This is a much more efficient way to build large—and therefore smarter—SNNs.

The Impact

Indirect encoding helps scientists build significantly larger neural networks with more complex connections between neurons. These changes would help bring SNNs to increasingly complex applications. For example, improved SNNs would bring new power to the complex task of classifying large scientific images. By improving the performance of artificial intelligence systems, this research could enable scientists to find solutions to the challenges caused by climate change. It will also help scientists discover or improve clean energy technologies.

Summary

Spiking neural networks offer tremendous potential for the future of artificial intelligence. For one, they can be implemented efficiently on neuromorphic systems, which closely mimic biological brains. One of the challenges in building functioning SNNs is the training process. Standard training processes are difficult to apply to SNNs. In this work, scientists created an evolutionary approach for training SNNs implementing an indirect encoding of individuals. Specifically, the researchers evolved SNNs using Compositional Pattern Producing Networks (CPPNs), which can learn the connectivity patterns between neurons defined in a coordinate space. Using CPPNs rather than direct encodings to evolve parameters allows representations of small numbers of individual encodings (on the order of tens or hundreds of individual encodings) to potentially represent thousands to millions of SNN parameter values.

Funding

This research was funded by the Department of Energy Office of Science, Advanced Scientific Computing Research program.

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Newswise: Mary Dunlop: Then and Now / 2011 Early Career Award Winner
Released: 24-Jun-2021 3:25 PM EDT
Mary Dunlop: Then and Now / 2011 Early Career Award Winner
Department of Energy, Office of Science

Mary Dunlop leads a team at Boston University that uses multi-disciplinary approaches to improve the amount of biofuel that certain microbes can produce. These microbes can produce replacements for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

Released: 24-Jun-2021 3:05 PM EDT
Department of Energy Announces $2.85 Million to Support Undergraduate Research Traineeships at HBCUs and other MSIs
Department of Energy, Office of Science

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded over $2.85 million with a focus on broadening and diversifying the nuclear and particle physics research communities through research traineeships for undergraduates from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions.

Newswise: Artificial intelligence speeds forecasts to control fusion experiments
Released: 24-Jun-2021 12:20 PM EDT
Artificial intelligence speeds forecasts to control fusion experiments
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Machine learning can improve the ability of scientists to optimize the components of experiments on spherical tokamaks that heat and shape the magnetically confined plasma that fuels fusion reactions.

Released: 24-Jun-2021 11:45 AM EDT
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PNNL scientists developed a tiny battery and tag to track younger, smaller species, to evaluate behavior and estimate survival during downstream migration.

Released: 23-Jun-2021 3:25 PM EDT
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Newswise: Quest, PPPL’s annual research magazine, highlights breakthroughs and discoveries during the past year
Released: 23-Jun-2021 2:15 PM EDT
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Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

News release on the publication of PPPL's Quest magazine features achievements of the laboratory over the past year.

Newswise: Molybdenum Limits Microbes’ Ability to Remove Harmful Nitrate from Soil
Released: 23-Jun-2021 8:05 AM EDT
Molybdenum Limits Microbes’ Ability to Remove Harmful Nitrate from Soil
Department of Energy, Office of Science

The Oak Ridge Reservation is contaminated with acidic, high-nitrate-and high-metal substances. Microbes in this environment can use molybdenum to remove nitrate, but the low concentration of molybdenum at Oak Ridge limits how much nitrate the microbes can remove. Two studies examine why molybdenum is limited and the mechanisms some microbes use to survive these conditions.

Newswise: How to Make Lithium-ion Batteries Invincible
Released: 22-Jun-2021 5:55 PM EDT
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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Berkeley Lab scientists have made significant progress in developing battery cathodes using a new class of materials that provide batteries with the same if not higher energy density than conventional lithium-ion batteries but can be made of inexpensive and abundant metals. Known as DRX, which stands for disordered rocksalts with excess lithium, this novel family of materials was invented less than 10 years ago and allows cathodes to be made without nickel or cobalt.

Newswise: Schoch Named PNNL Chief Communications Officer
Released: 22-Jun-2021 3:55 PM EDT
Schoch Named PNNL Chief Communications Officer
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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Released: 22-Jun-2021 2:35 PM EDT
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Department of Energy, Office of Science

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $28.9 million in funding for nine research projects to advance the development of sophisticated software for the chemical sciences.

View More
Newswise: Mary Dunlop: Then and Now / 2011 Early Career Award Winner
Released: 24-Jun-2021 3:25 PM EDT
Mary Dunlop: Then and Now / 2011 Early Career Award Winner
Department of Energy, Office of Science

Mary Dunlop leads a team at Boston University that uses multi-disciplinary approaches to improve the amount of biofuel that certain microbes can produce. These microbes can produce replacements for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

Released: 24-Jun-2021 3:05 PM EDT
Department of Energy Announces $2.85 Million to Support Undergraduate Research Traineeships at HBCUs and other MSIs
Department of Energy, Office of Science

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded over $2.85 million with a focus on broadening and diversifying the nuclear and particle physics research communities through research traineeships for undergraduates from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions.

Newswise: Artificial intelligence speeds forecasts to control fusion experiments
Released: 24-Jun-2021 12:20 PM EDT
Artificial intelligence speeds forecasts to control fusion experiments
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Machine learning can improve the ability of scientists to optimize the components of experiments on spherical tokamaks that heat and shape the magnetically confined plasma that fuels fusion reactions.

Released: 24-Jun-2021 11:45 AM EDT
New, Tiny Battery Powers Big Insight into Fish Passage for Hydropower
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

PNNL scientists developed a tiny battery and tag to track younger, smaller species, to evaluate behavior and estimate survival during downstream migration.

Released: 23-Jun-2021 3:25 PM EDT
DOE Announces $22 Million for Energy Research Projects in Underserved Regions
Department of Energy, Office of Science

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $22 million in funding for nine projects covering a range of energy research topics from grid integration, solar energy, wind energy, and advanced manufacturing.

Newswise: Quest, PPPL’s annual research magazine, highlights breakthroughs and discoveries during the past year
Released: 23-Jun-2021 2:15 PM EDT
Quest, PPPL’s annual research magazine, highlights breakthroughs and discoveries during the past year
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

News release on the publication of PPPL's Quest magazine features achievements of the laboratory over the past year.

Newswise: Molybdenum Limits Microbes’ Ability to Remove Harmful Nitrate from Soil
Released: 23-Jun-2021 8:05 AM EDT
Molybdenum Limits Microbes’ Ability to Remove Harmful Nitrate from Soil
Department of Energy, Office of Science

The Oak Ridge Reservation is contaminated with acidic, high-nitrate-and high-metal substances. Microbes in this environment can use molybdenum to remove nitrate, but the low concentration of molybdenum at Oak Ridge limits how much nitrate the microbes can remove. Two studies examine why molybdenum is limited and the mechanisms some microbes use to survive these conditions.

Newswise: How to Make Lithium-ion Batteries Invincible
Released: 22-Jun-2021 5:55 PM EDT
How to Make Lithium-ion Batteries Invincible
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Berkeley Lab scientists have made significant progress in developing battery cathodes using a new class of materials that provide batteries with the same if not higher energy density than conventional lithium-ion batteries but can be made of inexpensive and abundant metals. Known as DRX, which stands for disordered rocksalts with excess lithium, this novel family of materials was invented less than 10 years ago and allows cathodes to be made without nickel or cobalt.

Newswise: Schoch Named PNNL Chief Communications Officer
Released: 22-Jun-2021 3:55 PM EDT
Schoch Named PNNL Chief Communications Officer
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Amanda Schoch, an experienced national intelligence communications strategist, tapped to lead PNNL Communications

Released: 22-Jun-2021 2:35 PM EDT
Department of Energy Announces $28.9 Million for Research to Develop Advanced Chemical Sciences Software
Department of Energy, Office of Science

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $28.9 million in funding for nine research projects to advance the development of sophisticated software for the chemical sciences.

View More
Newswise: Mary Dunlop: Then and Now / 2011 Early Career Award Winner
Released: 24-Jun-2021 3:25 PM EDT
Mary Dunlop: Then and Now / 2011 Early Career Award Winner
Department of Energy, Office of Science

Mary Dunlop leads a team at Boston University that uses multi-disciplinary approaches to improve the amount of biofuel that certain microbes can produce. These microbes can produce replacements for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

Released: 24-Jun-2021 3:05 PM EDT
Department of Energy Announces $2.85 Million to Support Undergraduate Research Traineeships at HBCUs and other MSIs
Department of Energy, Office of Science

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded over $2.85 million with a focus on broadening and diversifying the nuclear and particle physics research communities through research traineeships for undergraduates from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions.

Newswise: Artificial intelligence speeds forecasts to control fusion experiments
Released: 24-Jun-2021 12:20 PM EDT
Artificial intelligence speeds forecasts to control fusion experiments
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Machine learning can improve the ability of scientists to optimize the components of experiments on spherical tokamaks that heat and shape the magnetically confined plasma that fuels fusion reactions.

Released: 24-Jun-2021 11:45 AM EDT
New, Tiny Battery Powers Big Insight into Fish Passage for Hydropower
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

PNNL scientists developed a tiny battery and tag to track younger, smaller species, to evaluate behavior and estimate survival during downstream migration.

Released: 23-Jun-2021 3:25 PM EDT
DOE Announces $22 Million for Energy Research Projects in Underserved Regions
Department of Energy, Office of Science

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $22 million in funding for nine projects covering a range of energy research topics from grid integration, solar energy, wind energy, and advanced manufacturing.

Newswise: Quest, PPPL’s annual research magazine, highlights breakthroughs and discoveries during the past year
Released: 23-Jun-2021 2:15 PM EDT
Quest, PPPL’s annual research magazine, highlights breakthroughs and discoveries during the past year
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

News release on the publication of PPPL's Quest magazine features achievements of the laboratory over the past year.

Newswise: Molybdenum Limits Microbes’ Ability to Remove Harmful Nitrate from Soil
Released: 23-Jun-2021 8:05 AM EDT
Molybdenum Limits Microbes’ Ability to Remove Harmful Nitrate from Soil
Department of Energy, Office of Science

The Oak Ridge Reservation is contaminated with acidic, high-nitrate-and high-metal substances. Microbes in this environment can use molybdenum to remove nitrate, but the low concentration of molybdenum at Oak Ridge limits how much nitrate the microbes can remove. Two studies examine why molybdenum is limited and the mechanisms some microbes use to survive these conditions.

Newswise: How to Make Lithium-ion Batteries Invincible
Released: 22-Jun-2021 5:55 PM EDT
How to Make Lithium-ion Batteries Invincible
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Berkeley Lab scientists have made significant progress in developing battery cathodes using a new class of materials that provide batteries with the same if not higher energy density than conventional lithium-ion batteries but can be made of inexpensive and abundant metals. Known as DRX, which stands for disordered rocksalts with excess lithium, this novel family of materials was invented less than 10 years ago and allows cathodes to be made without nickel or cobalt.

Newswise: Schoch Named PNNL Chief Communications Officer
Released: 22-Jun-2021 3:55 PM EDT
Schoch Named PNNL Chief Communications Officer
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Amanda Schoch, an experienced national intelligence communications strategist, tapped to lead PNNL Communications

Released: 22-Jun-2021 2:35 PM EDT
Department of Energy Announces $28.9 Million for Research to Develop Advanced Chemical Sciences Software
Department of Energy, Office of Science

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $28.9 million in funding for nine research projects to advance the development of sophisticated software for the chemical sciences.

View More

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