LTMD: Learning Improvement of Spiking Neural Networks with Learnable Thresholding Neurons and Moderate Dropout

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


SIQI WANG, Tee Hiang Cheng, Meng-Hiot Lim


Spiking Neural Networks (SNNs) have shown substantial promise in processing spatio-temporal data, mimicking biological neuronal mechanisms, and saving computational power. However, most SNNs use fixed model regardless of their locations in the network. This limits SNNs’ capability of transmitting precise information in the network, which becomes worse for deeper SNNs. Some researchers try to use specified parametric models in different network layers or regions, but most still use preset or suboptimal parameters. Inspired by the neuroscience observation that different neuronal mechanisms exist in disparate brain regions, we propose a new spiking neuronal mechanism, named learnable thresholding, to address this issue. Utilizing learnable threshold values, learnable thresholding enables flexible neuronal mechanisms across layers, proper information flow within the network, and fast network convergence. In addition, we propose a moderate dropout method to serve as an enhancement technique to minimize inconsistencies between independent dropout runs. Finally, we evaluate the robustness of the proposed learnable thresholding and moderate dropout for image classification with different initial thresholds for various types of datasets. Our proposed methods produce superior results compared to other approaches for almost all datasets with fewer timesteps. Our codes are available at