Neuro SatCom The Application of Neuromorphic Processors to Satcom Applications

Status
Ongoing
Status date
2022-07-15
Activity Code
1A.114
Objectives

Neuromorphic computers are non-von Neumann computers whose structure and function are inspired by brains and are therefore composed of neurons and synapses. They have enormous potential for many different applications and have so far been little explored in the field of satellite communications. 

In this context, the main objectives of the project are to:

  1. Identify potential use cases and applications of Neuromorphic Processors for future SatCom Systems and provide a justification for the need of making use of this new computing architecture.

  2. Compare the performance and implementation of the identified applications when run on standard processor solutions (i.e. GPU/CPUs/ FPGA/ AI-Accelerators, etc.) compared to neuromorphic processors.

  3. Outline the design of a future Neuromorphic Processor Proof of Concept demonstrator for a viable SatCom application together with a corresponding development roadmap, timescale, and cost envelope.

To carry out these objectives the project has been divided into five work packages:

WP1: Technology Watch on Neuromorphic Processor. The aim is to perform a survey of the current state-of-the-art Neuromorphic Processor products and solution and assess their applicability to space applications.

WP2: SatCom Applications. This work package targets the identification of space applications that could benefit from implementation under the paradigm of Neuromorphic Processors.

WP3: Benchmark. The objective is to compare the performance and implementation of the identified SatCom applications when run on standard processor solutions compared to neuromorphic designs.

WP4: Prototype Design. This work package will outline the design of a future Proof of Concept demonstrator for a viable satcom application (suitable for realisation through a future ARTES activity).

WP5: Space Gaps.  This work package is dedicated to the description of the necessary steps for a flight space mission to integrate the prototype design.

Challenges

The main challenges of this project are:

  • The exploration and understanding of state-of-the-art Neuromorphic Processor hardware and software technologies and the assessment of their applicability to space applications.

  • The identification of space applications that could benefit from implementation under the paradigm of Neuromorphic Processors.

  • The specification of a proof-of-concept demonstrator targeting satcom applications run on Neuromorphic Processors.

Benefits

There are several applications where the neuromorphic processors could be useful considering the learning capabilities of the spiking neural networks. The main fields where neural networks could be used, and the associated space applications, are the following:

  • Image recognition (Earth observation)

  • Multispectral & hyperspectral image processing (Earth observation)

  • Imaging radar (Synthetic Aperture Radar)

  • Inverse kinematics (Robotic arms)

  • Interference detection and correction (Satcom)

  • Signal processing (Satcom)

  • Beamforming (Satcom)

  • Network optimization and prediction (Satcom)

  • Expert systems (Satcom, Earth observation)

Neuro SatCom will evaluate the benefits of employing neuromorphic processors compared to von Neumann-based devices such as state-of-the-art space qualified COTS processors (MPSoCs, multicore processors, manycore processors, GPUs, etc.) and FPGAs. As applications could differ on several dimensions, the benefits the neuromorphic approach may differ from one type of application to another.

Features

Neuro SatCom will focus in the following five use cases:

  • Frequency plan optimisation

  • Jamming detection with spectrograms

  • Congestion prediction

  • Interference detection

  • Hybrid precoding matrix calculation

The Neuromorphic Processor to be used in Neuro SatCom for the implementation of the selected use cases will be one of the two SpiNNaker (Spiking Neural Network Architecture) machines, brain-inspired massively parallel computing platforms.

System Architecture

The use cases will be implemented in the SpiNNaker machine using the following tools and techniques:

  • SNNtoolbox - translates trained ANN/CNN into equivalent rate-based SNN (ETH Zurich)

  • ANN/CNN quantization - optimizes ANN/CNN for low precision, improving SNN latency and efficiency (UMAN)

  • Spiking LSTM network - uses adaptive threshold SNNs to hold state equivalent to LSTM (TU Graz algorithm)

  • BitBrain - novel (patented) associative network with single-pass learning and good performance (UMAN)

Plan

Neuro SatCom was launched on May 5th, 2022 and has a duration of nine months.

One of the main milestones of Neuro SatCom is the organization of an online workshop “Neuromorphic Processors for SatCom” on July 12th, 2022. This workshop will serve as a meeting point for top international experts from both the industry and the academia in SatCom and Neuromorphic Hardware and will survey their opinion on the suitability of NPs in SatCom applications.

The final outcome of the project will be a collection of technical notes and software packages for the selected use cases.

Current status

Started.

Prime Contractor
Subcontractors