Spatio-Temporal Pruning and Quantization for Low-latency Spiking Neural Networks

Spiking Neural Networks (SNNs) are a promising alternative to traditional deep learning methods since they perform event-driven information processing. However, a major drawback of SNNs is high inference latency. The efficiency of SNNs could be enhanced using compression methods such as pruning and quantization. Notably, SNNs, unlike their non-spiking counterparts, consist of a temporal dimension, the compression of which can lead to latency reduction. In this paper, we propose spatial and temporal pruning of SNNs. First, structured spatial pruning is performed by determining the layer-wise significant dimensions using principal component analysis of the average accumulated membrane potential of the neurons. This step leads to 10-14X model compression. Additionally, it enables inference with lower latency and decreases the spike count per inference. To further reduce latency, temporal pruning is performed by gradually reducing the timesteps while training. The networks are trained using surrogate gradient descent based backpropagation and we validate the results on CIFAR10 and CIFAR100, using VGG architectures. The spatiotemporally pruned SNNs achieve 89.04 CIFAR100, respectively, while performing inference with 3-30X reduced latency compared to state-of-the-art SNNs. Moreover, they require 8-14X lesser compute energy compared to their unpruned standard deep learning counterparts. The energy numbers are obtained by multiplying the number of operations with energy per operation. These SNNs also provide 1-4 noise corrupted inputs. Furthermore, we perform weight quantization and find that performance remains reasonably stable up to 5-bit quantization.


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