A bi-directional Address-Event transceiver block for low-latency inter-chip communication in neuromorphic systems

by   Ning Qiao, et al.

Neuromorphic systems typically use the Address-Event Representation (AER) to transmit signals among nodes, cores, and chips. Communication of Address-Events (AEs) between neuromorphic cores/chips typically requires two parallel digital signal buses for Input/Output (I/O) operations. This requirement can become very expensive for large-scale systems in terms of both dedicated I/O pins and power consumption. In this paper we present a compact fully asynchronous event-driven transmitter/receiver block that is both power efficient and I/O efficient. This block implements high-throughput low-latency bi-directional communication through a parallel AER bus. We show that by placing the proposed AE transceiver block in two separate chips and linking them by a single AER bus, we can drive the communication and switch the transmission direction of the shared bus on a single event basis, from either side with low-latency. We present experimental results that validate the circuits proposed and demonstrate reliable bi-directional event transmission with high-throughput. The proposed AE block, integrated in a neuromorphic chip fabricated using a 28 nm FDSOI process, occupies a silicon die area of 140 μm x 70 μm. The experimental measurements show that the event-driven AE block combined with standard digital I/Os has a direction switch latency of 5 ns and can achieve a worst-case bi-directional event transmission throughput of 28.6M Events/second while consuming 11 pJ per event (26-bit) delivery.


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