Brain is a very efficient computing system. It performs very complex tasks while occupying about 2 liters of volume and consuming very little energy. The computation tasks are performed by special cells in the brain called neurons. They compute using electrical pulses and exchange information between them through chemicals called neurotransmitters. With this as inspiration, there are several compute models which exist today trying to exploit the inherent efficiencies demonstrated by nature. The compute models representing spiking neural networks (SNNs) are biologically plausible, hence are used to study and understand the workings of brain and nervous system. More importantly, they are used to solve a wide variety of problems in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). They are uniquely suited to model temporal and spatio-temporal data paradigms. This chapter explores the fundamental concepts of SNNs, few of the popular neuron models, how the information is represented, learning methodologies, and state of the art platforms for implementing and evaluating SNNs along with a discussion on their applications and broader role in the field of AI and data networks.
Part of the book: Biomimetics