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Visualising Large-Scale Neural Network Models in Real-Time

Cameron Patterson, Francesco Galluppi, Alexander Rast and Steve Furber


As models of neural networks scale in concert with increasing computational performance, gaining insight into their operation becomes increasingly important. This paper proposes an efficient and generalised method to access simulation data via in-system aggregation, providing visualised representation at all layers of the network in real-time. Enabling neural networks for real-time visualisation allows a user to gain insight into the network dynamics of their systems as they operate over time. This visibility also permits users (or a computational agent) to determine whether early intervention is required to adjust parameters, or even to terminate operation of experimental networks that are not operating correctly. Conventionally the determination of correctness would occur post-simulation, so with sufficient ‘in-flight’ insight, a significant advantage may be obtained, and compute time minimised. For this paper we apply the real-time visualisation platform to the SpiNNaker programmable neuromimetic system and a variety of neural network models. The visualisation platform is shown to be capable across a range of diverse simulations, and at supporting differing layers of network abstraction, requiring minimal configuration to represent each model. The resulting general-purpose visualisation platform for neural networks, is effective at presenting data to users in order to aid their comprehension of the network dynamics during operation, and scales from small to biologically-significant network sizes.