A Swarm Optimization Solver Based on Ferroelectric Spiking Neural Networks

Yan Fang*, Zheng Wang, Jorge Gomez, Suman Datta, Asif I. Khan, Arijit Raychowdhury

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


As computational models inspired by the biological neural system, spiking neural networks (SNN) continue to demonstrate great potential in the landscape of artificial intelligence, particularly in tasks such as recognition, inference, and learning. While SNN focuses on achieving high-level intelligence of individual creatures, Swarm Intelligence (SI) is another type of bio-inspired models that mimic the collective intelligence of biological swarms, i.e., bird flocks, fish school and ant colonies. SI algorithms provide efficient and practical solutions to many difficult optimization problems through multi-agent metaheuristic search. Bridging these two distinct subfields of artificial intelligence has the potential to harness collective behavior and learning ability of biological systems. In this work, we explore the feasibility of connecting these two models by implementing a generalized SI model on SNN. In the proposed computing paradigm, we use SNNs to represent agents in the swarm and encode problem solutions with the spike firing rate and with spike timing. The coupled neurons communicate and modulate each other's action potentials through event-driven spikes and synchronize their dynamics around the states of optimal solutions. We demonstrate that such an SI-SNN model is capable of efficiently solving optimization problems, such as parameter optimization of continuous functions and a ubiquitous combinatorial optimization problem, namely, the traveling salesman problem with near-optimal solutions. Furthermore, we demonstrate an efficient implementation of such neural dynamics on an emerging hardware platform, namely ferroelectric field-effect transistor (FeFET) based spiking neurons. Such an emerging in-silico neuron is composed of a compact 1T-1FeFET structure with both excitatory and inhibitory inputs. We show that the designed neuromorphic system can serve as an optimization solver with high-performance and high energy-efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Article number855
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
StatePublished - 13 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2019 Fang, Wang, Gomez, Datta, Khan and Raychowdhury.


  • ferroelectric FET
  • neuromorphic computing
  • optimization
  • spiking neural network
  • swarm intelligence


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