Parallel distribution of an inner hair cell and auditory nerve model for real-time application

Robert James, Jim Garside, Michael Hopkins, Luis A. Plana, Steve Temple, Simon Davidson, Steve Furber

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This paper summarises recent efforts in implementing a model of the ear’s inner hair cell and auditory nerve on a neuromorphic hardware platform, the SpiNNaker machine. This exploits the massive parallelism of the target architecture to obtain real-time modelling of a biologically realistic number
of human auditory nerve fibres. We show how this model can be integrated with additional modules that simulate previous stages of the early auditory pathway running on the same hardware architecture, thus producing a full-scale spiking auditory nerve output from a single sound stimulus. The results of the
SpiNNaker implementation are shown to be comparable with a Matlab version of the same model algorithms, while removing the inherent performance limitations associated with an increase in auditory model scale that are seen in conventional computer simulations. Finally we outline the potential for using this system
as part of a full-scale, real-time digital model of the complete human auditory pathway on the SpiNNaker platform.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1018
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems
Issue number5
Early online date16 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • neuromorphic computing
  • auditory pathway modelling
  • Inner hair cell
  • auditory nerve
  • SpiNNaker
  • Real-time simulation


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