Connect with us

Hardware Neural Network

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Daniele, Feb 28, 2007.

Scroll to continue with content
  1. Daniele

    Daniele Guest

    Hi all,

    I'm a university student, and I'm realizing a research on artificial
    neural networks. The aim of my research is the feasibility of putting
    an artificial neural network on a microcontroller or a DSP. Because of
    the sigmoid function, I think that would be necessary a 32-bit
    microcontroller (or DSP) for floating point operations. I was
    searching online but I only had found exhaustive informations on
    software realization of ANN's, but it's not what I was searching for.
    Does someone have any hint or any previous experience on the hardware
    realization of an ANN?
    I think the better solution is the DSP, due to its power on floating
    points operation, is it right?

    Here are some details of the network:

    5 or 6 inputs
    about 10 neurons in the hidden layer
    2 outputs

    Thanks in advance,

  2. rwmoekoe


    Feb 23, 2007

    i vaguely remember reading it somewhere but i can't seem to remember where exactly it was. Maybe it's the Datasheet 4 databook or so. If it is, then you can get it

    It is about exactly what u r looking for: a hardware neural network, consisting of matrix of presettable resistors or some kind of such components, which are adjusted during the training period. What i remember is that the sigmoid transfer function and so forth, are done naturally, as analog signals through the components functioning as neurons, are passed just naturally in the sigmoid function.

    It is very interesting!

    Well, just wanna know, how many hidden layers do u plan on having? Are there recursive layers in them?
    If u don't mind sharing, what is the purpose of the nn u're building?

    Thanks alot!
  3. EdV

    EdV Guest

    If you want to do a HW realization of a neural network your best bet
    is to do it in Field Programmable Gate Arrays. Try googling FPGA and
    Neural network:

    FPGA Implementations of Neural Networks - a Survey of a Decade of ...

    and about 17k more hits.

    Have fun,
    Ed V.
  4. Hi Danielle,

    You may have a look at the "Neural Stamp" project I've published in the
    Circuit Cellar magazine some time ago (January 2000, issue #114) : it
    provided 8 analog inputs, an hidden layer of 16 neurons, an output layer of
    8 neurons driving 8 analog outputs, with a refresh rate of 50ms... all with
    only the internal resources of a MC68HC908GP20 low cost 8 bit
    microcontroller. Floating point is absolutly unnecessary for neural
    networks, as a 1 bit quantization error doesn't change anything even with
    8-bit words (at least for 2-layers networks), and sigmoid can be done easily
    with a table-driven approach. This project won the 3rd prize in the
    Design'99 contest, see

    Robert Lacoste
    The Mixed Signal Experts
  5. Guest

    It is definitely true that floating point capabilities are not needed
    for the real-time implementation of a network which has already been
    trained. They can be an advantage in the training process however.

    I developed a real-time multi-layer perceptron implementation around
    1989 which extracted the voice fundamental frequency (voice pitch) for
    use in specialised hearing aids. This used a TMS320C25 16-bit fixed
    point DSP.

    The training was done on Sun workstations and took many days.

    A DSP is exceptionally well suited to the task, because each "neuron"
    can be implemented as a repeated multiply-accumulate-with-data-move
    instruction followed by a table lookup for the sigmoid function.

    The following publication describes the work:

    Real-Time Portable Multi-Layer Perceptron Voice Fundamental-Period
    Extractor for Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants. JR Walliker & I
    Howard. 1989

    John Walliker
  6. Guest

    At some point, someone in the university will ask "how is your work
    new," particularly if you are a graduate student. So I wonder how
    you can distinguish this as something beyond the articles by James
    Albus in the summer 1977 Byte magazine on a CMAC? (That summer, I
    implemented his algorithm on a TI handheld calculator.)
  7. Paul Burke

    Paul Burke Guest

    I half- recall seeing a reference to work on inhibitors in real neurones
    that said the untreated neurone (from what? can't remember) had a 1-2%
    chance of triggering with no input, so it would seem 8 bit should be at
    least similar to real- life. But a 10 or 12 bit lookup shouldn't break
    the bank with most processors or FPGAs.

    Paul Burke
  8. Daniele

    Daniele Guest

    Thanks for the hints and the link. I already had thought about using
    an 8-bit table for mapping the sigmoid, so this is a good confirmation.
  9. Daniele

    Daniele Guest

    I have to train the network and set the heights without using a
    calculator, but writing directly in the memory of the MC/DSP.


  10. John  Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    I know it's an academic darling, but has anyone ever done anything
    genuinely useful with nn technology?

  11. Speach recognition, look up dragon natural speaking.
    Also look up Liaw and Berger.
    Now ho is asking cryptic quatrions?
    Cannot you type neural net in google?
  12. Phil Hobbs

    Phil Hobbs Guest

    The problem with NNs is that you can't see why they work. Thus although
    they can provide neat results, you have to verify them afterwards, e.g.
    speech recognition. You can't prove that they're going to work in any
    given case without trying it. As Deming said, "You can't test quality
    into a product."


    Phil Hobbs
  13. This is not completely correct.
    I suggest you look up Berger & Liaw.
    For now it also is a mathematic question, so you can calculate what comes out.
    Anyways Berger & Liaw came up with a betetr neuron model.
    It think this is now used to find snipers and gun types(??), but hard to get
    data, more likely submarine detection, as it is Navy financed.
    Better models is what we need.
  14. Phil Hobbs

    Phil Hobbs Guest

    Hmm. So if you have one of these B&L gizmos (about which opinion seems
    to be seriously divided), and it's been trained to recognize my speech,
    how are you going to show that it'll recognize yours without trying it?


    Phil Hobbs
  15. The same problem exists for all complex pieces of s/w.
    There is no general way to prove that they are bug free or will do what
    they are supposed to do.

    Dirk - The UK's only occult talk show
    Presented by Dirk Bruere and Marc Power on ResonanceFM 104.4
  16. Phil Hobbs

    Phil Hobbs Guest

    Well, no, that's not true. There are unit tests and so forth, and you
    can trawl through the code and see how it's organized. Try doing that
    with a neural net. NNs are cool, don't get me wrong, but I _hate_ 3 AM
    phone calls.


    Phil Hobbs
  17. Sing a song into it?
  18. Phil Hobbs

    Phil Hobbs Guest

    My point.


    Phil Hobbs
  19. John  Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    Oh, there are lots of hits, too many in fact. I was just wondering if
    any practical products have resulted. The cited applications seem to
    be stuff like spam detection, language translation, and pattern
    recognition, processes that really don't expect consistant accuracy.

    I'd be reluctant to trust anything serious, like a control system that
    mattered, to an algorithm whose corner cases are undefined and
    probably not testable.

    I've worked with a few academics that would shout "neural network!"
    (in one situation, two did it in precise unison) in response to nearly
    any problem they didn't have an analytic approach to. The suggestion
    was often beyond absurd.

  20. Frank Miles

    Frank Miles Guest

    Is there _any_ pattern recognition technology that doesn't suffer from
    the same problems? At least for complex signals? This is not to say
    that a truly refined technology (ideally) shouldn't be able to deliver
    consistent/provable/testable performance, or be open to inspection.
    But then the finest pattern recognizers - at least, in discriminating
    the most complex signals in significant noise - (trained people) don't
    meet this test, either. We have a long way to go in developing a
    technology that has the fine attributes that you seek.

Ask a Question
Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?
You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.
Electronics Point Logo
Continue to site
Quote of the day