Keywords: [ spiking neural network ]
A dynamical system of spiking neurons with only feedforward connections can classify spatiotemporal patterns without recurrent connections. However, the theoretical construct of a feedforward spiking neural network (SNN) for approximating a temporal sequence remains unclear, making it challenging to optimize SNN architectures for learning complex spatiotemporal patterns. In this work, we establish a theoretical framework to understand and improve sequence approximation using a feedforward SNN. Our framework shows that a feedforward SNN with one neuron per layer and skip-layer connections can approximate the mapping function between any arbitrary pairs of input and output spike train on a compact domain. Moreover, we prove that heterogeneous neurons with varying dynamics and skip-layer connections improve sequence approximation using feedforward SNN. Consequently, we propose SNN architectures incorporating the preceding constructs that are trained using supervised backpropagation-through-time (BPTT) and unsupervised spiking-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) algorithms for classification of spatiotemporal data. A dual-search-space Bayesian optimization method is developed to optimize architecture and parameters of the proposed SNN with heterogeneous neuron dynamics and skip-layer connections.