IBM and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) are collaborating on a brain-inspired supercomputing system.
According to IBM, the machine, powered by a 64-chip array of the IBM TrueNorth Neurosynaptic System, will feature a software ecosystem designed to enable deep neural-network learning and information discovery. The system’s pattern recognition and sensory processing power will be the equivalent of 64 million neurons and 16 billion synapses, while the processor component will consume the energy equivalent of a dim light bulb – 10 watts to power, says the company.
AFRL is investigating applications of the system in embedded, mobile, autonomous settings where, today, size, weight and power (SWaP) are key limiting factors. The research lab was one of the the earliest adopters of TrueNorth.
Over the last six years, IBM has expanded the number of neurons per system from 256 to more than 64 million – an 800 percent annual increase over six years – says IBM. The system fits in a 4U-high (7″) space, in a standard server rack. Eight such systems will enable 512 million neurons per rack. A single processor in the system consists of 5.4 billion transistors, organized into 4,096 neural cores. The cores create an array of one million digital neurons, that communicate with one another via 256 million electrical synapses.
The IBM TrueNorth Neurosynaptic System was originally developed under Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) program, in collaboration with Cornell University.
Research with TrueNorth is currently being performed by more than 40 universities, government labs, and industrial partners on five continents.
[Image courtesy: IBM]