Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name


First Advisor

M. Ahmadi


CPG, Digital design, FPGA, Spiking Neural Network




Spiking Neural Network as the third generation of artificial neural networks offers a promising solution for future computing, prosthesis, robotic and image processing applications. This thesis introduces digital designs and implementations of building blocks of a Spiking Neural Networks (SNNs) including neurons, learning rule, and small networks of neurons in the form of a Central Pattern Generator (CPG) which can be used as a module in control part of a bio-inspired robot. The circuits have been developed using Verilog Hardware Description Language (VHDL) and simulated through Modelsim and compiled and synthesised by Altera Qurtus Prime software for FPGA devices. Astrocyte as one of the brain cells controls synaptic activity between neurons by providing feedback to neurons. A novel digital hardware is proposed for neuron-synapseastrocyte network based on the biological Adaptive Exponential (AdEx) neuron and Postnov astrocyte cell model. The network can be used for implementation of large scale spiking neural networks. Synthesis of the designed circuits shows that the designed astrocyte circuit is able to imitate its biological model and regulate the synapse transmission, successfully. In addition, synthesis results confirms that the proposed design uses less than 1% of available resources of a VIRTEX II FPGA which saves up to 4.4% of FPGA resources in comparison to other designs. Learning rule is an essential part of every neural network including SNN. In an SNN, a special type of learning called Spike Timing Dependent Plasticity (STDP) is used to modify the connection strength between the spiking neurons. A pair-based STDP (PSTDP) works on pairs of spikes while a Triplet-based STDP (TSTDP) works on triplets of spikes to modify the synaptic weights. A low cost, accurate, and configurable digital architectures are proposed for PSTDP and TSTDP learning models. The proposed circuits have been compared with the state of the art methods like Lookup Table (LUT), and Piecewise Linear approximation (PWL). The circuits can be employed in a large-scale SNN implementation due to their compactness and configurability. Most of the neuron models represented in the literature are introduced to model the behavior of a single neuron. Since there is a large number of neurons in the brain, a population-based model can be helpful in better understanding of the brain functionality, implementing cognitive tasks and studying the brain diseases. Gaussian Wilson-Cowan model as one of the population-based models represents neuronal activity in the neocortex region of the brain. A digital model is proposed for the GaussianWilson-Cowan and examined in terms of dynamical and timing behavior. The evaluation indicates that the proposed model is able to generate the dynamical behavior as the original model is capable of. Digital architectures are implemented on an Altera FPGA board. Experimental results show that the proposed circuits take maximum 2% of the resources of a Stratix Altera board. In addition, static timing analysis indicates that the circuits can work in a maximum frequency of 244 MHz.