Neuroscientists often propose detailed computational models to probe the properties of the neural systems they study. With the advent of neuromorphic engineering, there is an increasing number of hardware electronic analogs of biological neural systems being proposed as well. However, for both biological and hardware systems, it is often difficult to estimate the parameters of the model so that they are meaningful to the experimental system under study, especially when these models involve a large number of states and parameters that cannot be simultaneously measured. We have developed a procedure to solve this problem in the context of interacting neural populations using a recently developed dynamic state and parameter estimation (DSPE) technique. This technique uses synchronization as a tool for dynamically coupling experimentally measured data to its corresponding model to determine its parameters and internal state variables. Typically experimental data are obtained from the biological neural system and the model is simulated in software; here we show that this technique is also efficient in validating proposed network models for neuromorphic spike-based very large-scale integration (VLSI) chips and that it is able to systematically extract network parameters such as synaptic weights, time constants, and other variables that are not accessible by direct observation. Our results suggest that this method can become a very useful tool for model-based identification and configuration of neuromorphic multichip VLSI systems.

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