Introduction: The field of machine learning has undergone a significant transformation with the progress of deep artificial neural networks (ANNs) and the growing accessibility of annotated data. ANNs usually require substantial power and memory usage to achieve optimal performance. Spiking neural networks (SNNs) have recently emerged as a low-power alternative to ANNs due to their sparsity nature. Despite their energy efficiency, SNNs are generally more difficult to be trained than ANNs. Methods: In this study, we propose a novel three-stage SNN training scheme designed specifically for segmenting human hippocampi from magnetic resonance images. Our training pipeline starts with optimizing an ANN to its maximum capacity, then employs a quick ANN-SNN conversion to initialize the corresponding spiking network. This is followed by spike-based backpropagation to fine-tune the converted SNN. In order to understand the reason behind performance decline in the converted SNNs, we conduct a set of experiments to investigate the output scaling issue. Furthermore, we explore the impact of binary and ternary representations in SNN networks and conduct an empirical evaluation of their performance through image classification and segmentation tasks. Results and discussion: By employing our hybrid training scheme, we observe significant advantages over both ANN-SNN conversion and direct SNN training solutions in terms of segmentation accuracy and training efficiency. Experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of our model in achieving our design goals.

, , , ,
Frontiers in Neuroscience

Yue, Y., Baltes, M., Abuhajar, N., Sun, T., Karanth, A., Smith, C., … Liu, J. (2023). Spiking neural networks fine-tuning for brain image segmentation. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 17, 1267639:1–1267639:11. doi:10.3389/fnins.2023.1267639