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Intel debuts Pohoiki Springs, a powerful neuromorphic research system for AI workloads

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This morning, Intel announced the general readiness of Pohoiki Springs, a powerful self-contained neuromorphic system that's about the size of five standard servers. The company says the system will be available to members of the Intel Neuromorphic Research Community via the cloud using Intel's Nx SDK and community-contributed software components, giving them a tool to scale up their neuromorphic research and explore ways to accelerate workloads that run slowly on today's conventional architectures. Intel claims Pohoiki Springs, which was announced in July 2019, is similar in neural capacity to the brain of a small mammal, with 768 Loihi chips and 100 million neurons spread across 24 Arria10 FPGA Nahuku expansion boards (containing 32 chips each) that operate at under 500 watts. This is ostensibly a step on the path to supporting larger and more sophisticated neuromorphic workloads. In fact, just this week, Intel demonstrated that the chips can be used to "teach" an AI model to distinguish among 10 different scents.


EETimes - Intel Scales Neuromorphic Computer to 100 Million Neurons -

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Intel has scaled up its neuromorphic computing system by integrating 768 of its Loihi chips into a 5 rack-unit system called Pohoiki Springs. This cloud-based system will be made available to Intel's Neuromorphic Research Community (INRC) to enable research and development of larger and more complex neuromorphic algorithms. Pohoiki Springs contains the equivalent of 100 million neurons, about the same number as in the brain of a small mammal such as a mole rat or a hamster. Neuromorphic Chip Intel debuted its Loihi neuromorphic chip for research applications in 2017. It mimics the architecture of the brain, using electrical pulses known as spikes, whose timing modulates the strength of the connections between neurons.


Intel Debuts Pohoiki Beach, Its 8M Neuron Neuromorphic Development System

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Neuromorphic computing has received less fanfare of late than quantum computing whose mystery has captured public attention and which seems to have generated more efforts (academic, government, and commercial) but whose payoff also seems more distant. Intel's introduction this week of Pohoiki Beach – an 8-million-neuron, neuromorphic system using 64 Loihi research chips – brings some (needed) attention back to neuromorphic technology. The newest system will be available to Intel's roughly 60 neuromorphic ecosystem partners and represents a significant scaling up of its development platform with more to come; Intel reportedly plans to introduce a 768-chip, 100-million-neuron system (Pohoiki Springs) near the end of 2019. "Researchers can now efficiently scale up novel neural-inspired algorithms – such as sparse coding, simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), and path planning – that can learn and adapt based on data inputs. Pohoiki Beach represents a major milestone in Intel's neuromorphic research, laying the foundation for Intel Labs to scale the architecture to 100 million neurons later this year," according to the official announcement.


Intel inks agreement with Sandia National Laboratories to explore neuromorphic computing

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As a part of the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Scientific Computing Research program, Intel today inked a three-year agreement with Sandia National Laboratories to explore the value of neuromorphic computing for scaled-up AI problems. Sandia will kick off its work using a 50-million-neuron Loihi-based system recently delivered to its facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As the collaboration progresses, Intel says the labs will receive systems built on the company's next-generation neuromorphic architecture. Along with Intel, researchers at IBM, HP, MIT, Purdue, and Stanford hope to leverage neuromorphic computing -- circuits that mimic the nervous system's biology -- to develop supercomputers 1,000 times more powerful than any today. Chips like Loihi excel at constraint satisfaction problems, which require evaluating a large number of potential solutions to identify the one or few that satisfy specific constraints.


The AI Show: How Intel built a chip with a sense of smell

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Intel's fifth-generation Loihi chip uses neuromorphic computing to learn faster on less training data than traditional artificial intelligence techniques -- including how to smell like a human does and make accurate conclusions based on a tiny dataset of essentially just one sample. "That's really one of the main things we're trying to understand and map into silicon … the brain's ability to learn with single examples," Mike Davies, the director of Intel's Neuromorphic Computing Lab, told me recently on The AI Show podcast. "So with just showing one clean presentation of an odor, we can store that in this high dimensional representation in the chip, and then it allows it to then recognize a variety of noisy, corrupted, occluded odors like you would be faced with in the real world." Neuromorphic computing has been around since the 1980s and is an attempt to use technology to mimic biological systems. Intel believes it is "the next generation of AI" and has designed its Loihi chip with neural units that approximate some functions of a human brain.