Title Communication Analogies and Computing via Neuromorphic Engineering - A Perspective from Bio-Inspired Robotics

Dr. Shyam Diwakar
School of Biotechnology,
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Kollam, India


“Neuromorphic engineering aspires to match the computational abilities of neurobiological systems by adapting the microanatomy and physiology of these systems into custom hardware. Hardware associative memory networks and pattern classifiers require distinct learning and recall phases to perform memory tasks. In this talk, we discuss how cerebellar circuits of the brain help understand bio-inspired communication models. Cerebellar granule cells (GrCs) form the input layer of the cerebellar cortex and integrate sensory information carried by mossy fibers (MFs). By choosing two different mathematical models we will use the cerebellar microciruitry to study how details matter in highlighting network function and in particular, how to use simple cost effective models for understanding spike transmission in such networks. Such connectionist architectures have large numbers of simple and highly connected processing elements and employ massively parallel computing paradigms, features inspired by those found in the nervous system. For a hardware implementation, the physical laws that govern the cooperative behavior of these elements are exploited to process information. Novel neural pattern classifiers for robotics use the importance of signal representations in the implementation of such systems, emphasizing the role of currents. We shall take examples from bio-inspired neural architectures in small robots and see how new computing designs can be implemented.”


Dr. Shyam Diwakar is the principal investigator of the computational neuroscience laboratory and is an assistant professor at the School of Biotechnology, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University, Amritapuri, Kollam, Kerala). He is a co-investigator of VALUE (Virtual and Accessible Laboratories for Universalizing Education), a major virtual labs initiative supported by Sakshat mission of MHRD, Government of India and is also the main PI of two cognitive science projects on neuroscience and on bio-inspired neural processor design funded by DST. He holds a Ph.D. in computational sciences from University of Milan, Italy, a bachelors degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering and a post graduate diploma in Bioinformatics from Bharathiar University, India. He worked on neuroscience as a postdoctoral researcher at the department of General Physiology, University of Pavia, Italy. He has authored two books, one on data mining and another on computational neuroscience. He has also served on the program committees of leading conferences in his field in Europe and India.

Dr. Diwakar's research uses principles from electrical engineering and informatics to study cerebellum and its functioning. His research has shown how noise is represented in extracellular neuronal tissue besides developing multi-scale mathematical models of the cerebellum granular layer. The current work at his lab is on computational neurophysiology, neuromorphic hardware and bio-robotics besides pedagogical techniques for enhancing biotechnology laboratory education through ICT.