IBM devises software for its experimental brain-like SyNAPSE chips
IBM has introduced a programming model for its state-of-the-art sensor processors
IDG News Service - Following up on work commissioned by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), IBM has developed a programming paradigm, and associated simulator and basic software library, for its experimental SyNAPSE processor.
The work suggests the processors could be used for extremely low-power yet computationally powerful sensor systems.
"Our end goal is to create a brain in a box," said Dharmendra Modha, and IBM Research senior manager who is the principal investigator for the project. With this technology, systems could one day be built that would "mimic the brain's ability for perception, action and cognition," he said.
The work is a continuation of a DARPA project to design a system that replicates the way a human processes information.
DARPA's original goal for the Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) project was to design computational devices comprised of billions of tiny processor cores packed into the volume of a two-liter bottle that used less energy than a light bulb.
At The International Joint Conference on Neural Networks this week in Dallas, IBM is demonstrating the third phase of the project, which thus far DARPA has funded with approximately US$53 million. IBM is working with Cornell University and iniLabs, and has collaborated with six other universities and a number of government supercomputing facilities as well.
The chips represent a radical break in design from today's von Neumann architecture of computing, in that computations are quickly made in a serial fashion. In contrast, this model works with multiple low-power processor cores working in parallel.
This chip architecture replicates how the human brain works, in that each "neurosynaptic core" has its own memory ("synapses"), a processor ("neuron"), and communication conduit ("axons"), which all operate together in an event-driven fashion, according to IBM. By working together, these cores could provide nuanced pattern recognition and other sensing capabilities, in much the same way a brain does.
IBM is unveiling a software ecosystem at the conference that can be used with these processors.
In particular, IBM is unveiling a simulator that can run a virtual network of neurosynaptic cores for testing and research purposes. IBM is also introducing a neuron model to represent how the processor core operates, or how it senses, remembers and acts upon a variety of input.
The company is also showing off a programming model based on reusable and stackable building blocks, called corelets. The corelet acts as the atomic unit of this neural computing model, in which inner workings of a corelet are hidden and the programmer knows only of its inputs and outputs. "The programmer only sees wires going in and wires coming out," Modha said.
- Deep Security +VMware vSphere with Operations Management Most midsize organizations are highly virtualized on VMware, and while this has produced significant savings, it also has created new challenges when it...
- Single-Vendor Security Ecosystems Offer Concrete Benefits Over Point Solutions IT security decision-makers from companies with 100 to 5,000 employees evaluates the current endpoint security solution market based on Forrester's own market data,...
- Best Practices for Security and Compliance with Amazon Web Services This paper will discuss what part of the shared responsibility equation customers are responsible for and what some of the recommended security practices...
- Case Study: Intuit Turns to Self-Service IT Intuit empowered its users to resolve their own IT issues with a consumer-like experience to free IT to focus on more strategic initiatives....
- Business-driven data protection Setting up data protection infrastructures with your organizations' core mission or business in mind is key. In this webinar, the ARCserve team will...
- On-Demand Webinar: Mind the Gap! Watch the webinar featuring Bob Janssen, CTO and Co-Founder of RES Software, to start building a solid foundation for business and IT to... All Processors White Papers | Webcasts