Both projects are part of the European Human Brain Project, originally funded by the European Commission's Future Emerging Technologies program (2005-2015). With more than one million cores, and one thousand simulated neurons per core, SpinNNaker should be capable of simulating one billion neurons in real-time. Dharmendra Modha, IBM fellow and chief scientist for brain-inspired computing, wrote an interesting commentary on the TrueNorth project that traces development of von Neumann architecture based computing and contrasts it with neuromorphic computing approaches: Introducing a Brain-inspired Computer. TrueNorth chip, introduced in August 2014, is a neuromorphic CMOS chip that consists of 4,096 hardware cores, each one simulating 256 programmable silicon "neurons" for a total of just over a million neurons.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has purchased a new brain-inspired supercomputing platform developed by International Business Machines Corp (NYSE:IBM). Based on a breakthrough neurosynaptic computer chip called IBM TrueNorth, the scalable platform will process the equivalent of 16 million neurons and 4 billion synapses while consuming only the energy equivalent of a tablet computer. The brain-like, neural network design of the IBM neuromorphic system is able to run complex cognitive tasks such as pattern recognition and integrated sensory processing far more efficiently than conventional chips. LLNL will receive a 16-chip TrueNorth system representing a total of 16 million neurons and 4 billion synapses. The new system will be used to explore new computing capabilities important to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) missions in cybersecurity, stewardship of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile and nonproliferation.
Von Neumann Architecture Neuromorphic Architecture Neuromorphic architectures address challenges like high power consumption, low speed, and other efficiency-related bottlenecks prevalent in the traditional von Neumann architecture Architecture Bottleneck CPU Memory Neuromorphic architectures integrate processing and storage, getting rid of the bus bottleneck connecting the CPU and memory Encoding Scheme and Signals Unlike the von Neumann architecture with sudden highs and lows in the form of binary encoding, neuromorphic chips offer a continuous analog transition in the form of spiking signals Devices and Components CPU, memory, logic gates, etc. Artificial neurons and synapses Neuromorphic devices and components are more complex than logic gates Versus Versus Versus 10. NEUROMORPHIC CHIPSETS 10 SAMPLE REPORT Neuromorphic Chipsets vs. GPUs Parameters Neuromorphic Chips GPU Chips Basic Operation Based on the emulation of the biological nature of neurons onto a chip Use parallel processing to perform mathematical operations Parallelism Inherent parallelism enabled by neurons and synapses Require the development of architectures for parallel processing to handle multiple tasks simultaneously Data Processing High High Power Low Power-intensive Accuracy Low High Industry Adoption Still in the experimental stage More accessible Software New tools and methodologies need to be developed for programming neuromorphic hardware Easier to program than neuromorphic silicons Memory Integrated memory and neural processing Use of an external memory Limitations • Not suitable for precise calculations and programming- related challenges • Creation of neuromorphic devices is difficult due to the complexity of interconnections • Thread limited • Suboptimal for massively parallel structures Neuromorphic chipsets are at an early stage of development, and would take approximately 20 years to be at the same level as GPUs. The asynchronous operation of neuromorphic chips makes them more efficient than other processing units.
LIVERMORE, Calif. and ARMONK, N.Y. - 29 Mar 2016: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) today announced it has purchased a first-of-a-kind brain-inspired supercomputing platform for deep learning inference developed by IBM (NYSE: IBM) Research. Based on a breakthrough neurosynaptic computer chip called IBM TrueNorth, the scalable platform will process the equivalent of 16 million neurons and 4 billion synapses and consume the energy equivalent of a tablet computer – a mere 2.5 watts of power for the 16 TrueNorth chips. The brain-like, neural network design of the IBM Neuromorphic System is able to infer complex cognitive tasks such as pattern recognition and integrated sensory processing far more efficiently than conventional chips. "Neuromorphic computing opens very exciting new possibilities and is consistent with what we see as the future of the high performance computing and simulation at the heart of our national security missions," said Jim Brase, LLNL deputy associate director for Data Science. "The potential capabilities neuromorphic computing represents and the machine intelligence that these will enable will change how we do science."
Lawrence Livermore's new supercomputer system uses 16 IBM TrueNorth chips developed by IBM Research (credit: IBM Research) Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has purchased IBM Research's supercomputing platform for deep-learning inference, based on 16 IBM TrueNorth neurosynaptic computer chips, to explore deep learning algorithms. IBM says the scalable platform processing power is the equivalent of 16 million artificial "neurons" and 4 billion "synapses." The brain-like neural-network design of the IBM Neuromorphic System can process complex cognitive tasks such as pattern recognition and integrated sensory processing far more efficiently than conventional chips, says IBM. The technology represents a fundamental departure from computer design that has been prevalent for the past 70 years and could be incorporated in next-generation supercomputers able to perform at exascale speeds -- 50 times faster than today's most advanced petaflop (quadrillion floating point operations per second) systems. The TrueNorth processor chip was introduced in 2014 (see IBM launches functioning brain-inspired chip).