Spiking Neural Networks for Visual Place Recognition


Spiking Neural Networks for Visual Place Recognition via Weighted Neuronal Assignments

GitHub repo size QUT Centre for Robotics

This repository contains code for our RA-L paper "Spiking Neural Networks for Visual Place Recognition via Weighted Neuronal Assignments" which will also be presented at ICRA 2022. DOI: 10.1109/LRA.2022.3149030

The pre-print version of the paper is available on arxiv.


VPRSNN method diagram


If using code within this repository, please refer to our paper in your publications:

  title={Spiking Neural Networks for Visual Place Recognition via Weighted Neuronal Assignments},
  author={Hussaini, Somayeh and Milford, Michael J and Fischer, Tobias},
  journal={IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters},

This work is an adaptation of the spiking neural network model from "Unsupervised Learning of Digit Recognition Using Spike-Timing-Dependent Plasticity", Diehl and Cook, (2015) for Visual Place Recognition (VPR). DOI: 10.3389/fncom.2015.00099. Visual Place Recognition is the problem of how a robot can identify whether it has previously visited a place given an image of the place despite challenges including changes in appearance and perceptual aliasing (where two different places look similar).

The code is based on the following reposities, that include the original code and the modified versions of the original code.

Original code (Peter U. Diehl):

Updated for Brian2: zxzhijia:

Updated for Python3: sdpenguin:

This code is licensed under MIT License.


Our recommended tool to install all dependencies is conda (or better: mamba). Please download and install conda or mamba, if you have not installed it yet.

You can create the conda environment using one of the following options.

Option 1:

conda create -n vprsnn -c conda-forge python==3.7.9 numpy matplotlib pathlib opencv tqdm pickle5 brian2 scikit-learn ipykernel numba cudatoolkit autopep8 pandas seaborn

Option 2 (using the provided environment.yml file):

conda env create -f environment.yml

Option 3 (using the provided requirements.txt file):

conda create --name vprsnn --file requirements.txt -c conda-forge

Activate the conda environment:

conda activate vprsnn



  1. Please ensure you have created and activated the conda environment.
  2. Nordland datasets, which can be downloaded from: (If not already available)

Training a new network:

  1. Generate the initial synaptic weights using, modify the number of output neurons if required.
  2. Modify the training configurations on main file "" including changing "args.test_mode" to "False" (if needed) and run the code.
  3. The trained weights will be stored in a subfolder in the folder "weights", which can be used to test the performance.
  4. The output will be stored in a subfolder in the folder "outputs", which also contains log files.

Testing with pretrained weights

  1. To test your trained model, set "args.test_mode" to "True", and run file. The trained weights for a model with 100 places (current configuration across all files) is provided in a subfolder in weights folder.
  2. Run the "" to visualise the learnt weights.
  3. Run "" to do the neuronal assignments and perform the predictions.
  4. The output will be stored in the same subfolder as in the training folder "outputs", which also contains log files.


This work was supported by the Australian Government via grant AUSMURIB000001 associated with ONR MURI grant N00014-19-1-2571, Intel Research via grant RV3.248.Fischer, and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) through the Centre for Robotics.

CRICOS No. 00213J