Imperial College London > Talks@ee.imperial > CAS Talks > An Efficient FPGA-based Design for Programmable Ion Channel Simulations

An Efficient FPGA-based Design for Programmable Ion Channel Simulations

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Grigorios Mingas.

The ongoing project at Newcastle University involves the development of a large-scale neurally inspired electronic device that is capable of interfacing with biological elements in a closed-loop fashion. Typically, a bio-electronic system such as that proposed is used in dynamic clamping applications, whereby simulated artificial neurons are directly connected to biological neurons in vitro through intracellular electrodes. This allows for neuroscientists to study and investigate the behaviour, functionality and network characteristics of neurons, ion channels and synapses. The current favoured tool for neuron simulation within the dynamic clamping community is a real-time operating system, which, although easy to use, suffers from inherent computational limitations. For example, the architecture of the system is not suited to simulations of a large number of neurons in parallel and there are significant challenges involved in the processing of the network infrastructure.

We propose that a massively parallel design implemented within an FPGA offers the performance that is required for future large-scale dynamic clamping applications, whereby up to 1 million neurons may be simulated. It is hoped that through the development of a flexible and programmable ion channel simulator on an FPGA that neuroscientists will be able to reap the awards provided by an improved choice of electronic architecture.

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