Article Summary

Title : Analog-digital simulations of full conductance-based networks of spiking neurons with spike timing dependent plasticity
Authors : Quan Zou, Yannick Bornat, Sylvain Saighi, Jean Tomas, Sylvie Renaud and Alain Destexhe
Year : 2006
Journal : Network
Volume : 17
Pages : 211-33


We introduce and test a system for simulating networks of conductance-based neuron models using analog circuits. At the single-cell level, we use custom-designed analog circuits (ASICs) that simulate two types of spiking neurons based on Hodgkin-Huxley like dynamics: "regular spiking" excitatory neurons with spike-frequency adaptation, and "fast spiking" inhibitory neurons. Synaptic interactions are mediated by conductance-based synaptic currents described by kinetic models. Connectivity and plasticity rules are implemented digitally through a real time interface between a computer and a PCI board containing the ASICs. We show a prototype system of a few neurons interconnected with synapses undergoing spike-timing dependent plasticity (STDP), and compare this system with numerical simulations. We use this system to evaluate the effect of parameter dispersion on the behavior of small circuits of neurons. It is shown that, although the exact spike timings are not precisely emulated by the ASIC neurons, the behavior of small networks with STDP matches that of numerical simulations. Thus, this mixed analog-digital architecture provides a valuable tool for real-time simulations of networks of neurons with STDP. They should be useful for any real-time application, such as hybrid systems interfacing network models with biological neurons.