ACM Computing Surveys

A Survey on Hyperdimensional Computing aka Vector Symbolic Architectures, Part I: Models and Data Transformations

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This two-part comprehensive survey is devoted to a computing framework most commonly known under the names Hyperdimensional Computing and Vector Symbolic Architectures (HDC/VSA). Both names refer to a family of computational models that use high-dimensional distributed representations and rely on the algebraic properties of their key operations to incorporate the advantages of structured symbolic representations and distributed vector representations. Notable models in the HDC/VSA family are Tensor Product Representations, Holographic Reduced Representations, Multiply-Add-Permute, Binary Spatter Codes, and Sparse Binary Distributed Representations but there are other models too. HDC/VSA is a highly interdisciplinary field with connections to computer science, electrical engineering, artificial intelligence, mathematics, and cognitive science. This fact makes it challenging to create a thorough overview of the field. However, due to a surge of new researchers joining the field in recent years, the necessity for a comprehensive survey of the field has become extremely important. Therefore, amongst other aspects of the field, this Part I surveys important aspects such as: known computational models of HDC/VSA and transformations of various input data types to high-dimensional distributed representations. Part II of this survey [84] is devoted to applications, cognitive computing and architectures, as well as directions for future work. The survey is written to be useful for both newcomers and practitioners.


07 Dec 2022


ACM Computing Surveys