This paper presents a novel pipelined architecture for competitive learning (CL). The architecture is implemented by the field programmable gate array (FPGA). It is used as a hardware accelerator in a system on programmable chip (SOPC) for reducing the computation time. In the architecture, a novel codeword swapping scheme is adopted so that neuron competitions for different training vectors can be operated concurrently. The neuron updating process is based on a hardware divider with simple table lookup operations. The divider performs finite precision calculations for area cost reduction at the expense of slight degradation in training performance. The CPU time of the NIOS processor executing the CL training with the proposed architecture as an accelerator is measured. Experimental results show that the NIOS processor with the proposed architecture as an accelerator can achieve up to a speedup of 254 over its software counterpart running on a general purpose processor Pentium IV without hardware support.
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