Avalanches and edge-of-chaos learning in neuromorphic nanowire networks

June, 2021


The brain’s efficient information processing is enabled by the interplay between its neuro-synaptic elements and complex network structure. This work reports on the neuromorphic dynamics of nanowire networks (NWNs), a unique brain-inspired system with synapse-like memristive junctions embedded within a recurrent neural network-like structure. Simulation and experiment elucidate how collective memristive switching gives rise to long-range transport pathways, drastically altering the network’s global state via a discontinuous phase transition. The spatio-temporal properties of switching dynamics are found to be consistent with avalanches displaying power-law size and life-time distributions, with exponents obeying the crackling noise relationship, thus satisfying criteria for criticality, as observed in cortical neuronal cultures. Furthermore, NWNs adaptively respond to time varying stimuli, exhibiting diverse dynamics tunable from order to chaos. Dynamical states at the edge-of-chaos are found to optimise information processing for increasingly complex learning tasks. Overall, these results reveal a rich repertoire of emergent, collective neural-like dynamics in NWNs, thus demonstrating the potential for a neuromorphic advantage in information processing.

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