Parallel Spiking Neurons with High Efficiency and Ability to Learn Long-term Dependencies

Wei Fang · Zhaofei Yu · Zhaokun Zhou · Ding Chen · Yanqi Chen · Zhengyu Ma · Timothée Masquelier · Yonghong Tian

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Thu 14 Dec 8:45 a.m. PST — 10:45 a.m. PST


Vanilla spiking neurons in Spiking Neural Networks (SNNs) use charge-fire-reset neuronal dynamics, which can only be simulated serially and can hardly learn long-time dependencies. We find that when removing reset, the neuronal dynamics can be reformulated in a non-iterative form and parallelized. By rewriting neuronal dynamics without reset to a general formulation, we propose the Parallel Spiking Neuron (PSN), which generates hidden states that are independent of their predecessors, resulting in parallelizable neuronal dynamics and extremely high simulation speed. The weights of inputs in the PSN are fully connected, which maximizes the utilization of temporal information. To avoid the use of future inputs for step-by-step inference, the weights of the PSN can be masked, resulting in the masked PSN. By sharing weights across time-steps based on the masked PSN, the sliding PSN is proposed to handle sequences of varying lengths. We evaluate the PSN family on simulation speed and temporal/static data classification, and the results show the overwhelming advantage of the PSN family in efficiency and accuracy. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study about parallelizing spiking neurons and can be a cornerstone for the spiking deep learning research. Our codes are available at

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