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04 2018 IEEE transactions on neural networks and learning systems

A Stochastic Spiking Neural Network for Virtual Screening.


Morro A, Canals V, Oliver A, Alomar ML, Galan-Prado F, Ballester PJ, Rossello JL


Virtual screening (VS) has become a key computational tool in early drug design and screening performance is of high relevance due to the large volume of data that must be processed to identify molecules with the sought activity-related pattern. At the same time, the hardware implementations of spiking neural networks (SNNs) arise as an emerging computing technique that can be applied to parallelize processes that normally present a high cost in terms of computing time and power. Consequently, SNN represents an attractive alternative to perform time-consuming processing tasks, such as VS. In this brief, we present a smart stochastic spiking neural architecture that implements the ultrafast shape recognition (USR) algorithm achieving two order of magnitude of speed improvement with respect to USR software implementations. The neural system is implemented in hardware using field-programmable gate arrays allowing a highly parallelized USR implementation. The results show that, due to the high parallelization of the system, millions of compounds can be checked in reasonable times. From these results, we can state that the proposed architecture arises as a feasible methodology to efficiently enhance time-consuming data-mining processes such as 3-D molecular similarity search.

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