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World's largest neuromorphic supercomputer is switched on

By midian182 · 21 replies
Nov 2, 2018
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  1. Built by the University of Manchester’s School of Computer Science, it took 12 years and $19.5 million to complete the project, which had its one-millionth processor core fitted last week. SpiNNaker is capable of performing 200 million million actions per second, with each chip containing 100 million moving parts.

    The machine can model more biological neurons in real time than any other computer in the world. These neurons are basic brain cells present in the nervous system that communicate primarily by emitting ‘spikes’ of pure electro-chemical energy.

    SpiNNaker works by sending billions of small amounts of information simultaneously to thousands of different destinations, thereby mimicking the parallel communication architecture of the brain. This makes it different from traditional computers, which send large amounts of data from one point to another via a standard network.

    “SpiNNaker completely re-thinks the way conventional computers work. We’ve essentially created a machine that works more like a brain than a traditional computer, which is extremely exciting,” said Steve Furber, Professor of Computer Engineering.

    “The ultimate objective for the project has always been a million cores in a single computer for real-time brain modeling applications, and we have now achieved it, which is fantastic.”

    SpiNNaker brings the creators’ ultimate aim of building a model of a billion biological neurons in real time a step closer. The neuromorphic supercomputer will run large-scale real-time simulations of different regions of the brain, including the Basal Ganglia, which is an area affected by Parkinson’s disease. It’s hoped this will lead to neurological breakthroughs in areas such as pharmaceutical testing.

    The SpiNNaker has also been used power a robot called the SpOmnibot, which can navigate the real-world by identifying objects and moving toward or ignoring them.

    “Neuroscientists can now use SpiNNaker to help unlock some of the secrets of how the human brain works by running unprecedentedly large-scale simulations. It also works as real-time neural simulator that allows roboticists to design large-scale neural networks into mobile robots so they can walk, talk and move with flexibility and low power,” added Professor Furber.

    Permalink to story.

  2. R00sT3R

    R00sT3R TS Guru Posts: 161   +342

    ..the answer is 42.
  3. onestepforward

    onestepforward TS Booster Posts: 111   +42

    Sorry, could you repeat the question? :)
    SalaSSin likes this.
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,393   +3,780

    Yeah, yeah .... very impressive ..... but is it upgradeable?
  5. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,199   +1,625

    Can it play Crysis?
  6. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 3,050   +1,384

    sadly no, but it can post "can it play crysis" memes in appropriate situations on internet forums. :p
  7. Tuxie

    Tuxie TS Rookie Posts: 19   +6

    Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of these?
  8. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,546   +1,537

    And when it launches nukes at Russia? SkyNet has been born...
  9. OutlawCecil

    OutlawCecil TS Guru Posts: 679   +495

    "12 years and $19.5 million to complete"

    Shoulda gone with NewEgg. I could have built it for less than 18 million.
  10. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,209   +670

    At a million different processors, I think it already is a kind of Beowulf cluster.
    Charles Olson likes this.
  11. ZipperBoi

    ZipperBoi TS Member Posts: 21   +23

    If you would have been following this from the beginning you would know that the answer is obviously, The Backstreet Boys.
  12. Dosahka

    Dosahka TS Addict Posts: 150   +59

    wrong question, the right one looks like this:
    Can it run Crysis?
    Charles Olson and stewi0001 like this.
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,972   +4,008

    FIXED.! :laughing:(y) (Y)

    The show from which this meme has been widely drawn, won't actually have its 42nd birthday until 2020. Who knows, perhaps that's the year of the true apocalypse...:eek:

    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a comedy science fiction series created by Douglas Adams. Originally a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978, it was later adapted to other formats, including stage shows, novels, comic books, a 1981 TV series, a 1984 video game, and 2005 feature film. Wikipedia
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
    TempleOrion likes this.
  14. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow TS Enthusiast Posts: 33   +13

    What kind of cores does it have? Are they x86 (and if so, are they AMD, VIA or Intel?), ARM, IBMPower, etc. I would find it really interesting to know because I think that a computer with 1,000,000 cores wouldn't necessarily need the newest cores to be effective. It could probably have been made with old Opteron Interlagos CPUs and still done a fine simulation of the brain for far less initial cost (although the power use would be much higher). All-in-all, this is a very exciting thing that will give us great insight into treating diseases of the brain, something we know less about than we do stars.


    EDIT: I looked it up and they're ARM cores. I think that's great because a lot of ARM architecture is open-source and open-source is the future.
  15. Shiki

    Shiki TS Rookie

    Did you say ARM? Uh oh.... Looks like this multi million dollar machine is susceptible to both the spectre and meltdown exploit... And I believe drive-by rowhammer attacks.
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,972   +4,008

    See, it does work just like the human mind, which is susceptible to every bit of of bullsh!t and propaganda that politicians, advertisers, and religious figures can dish out.
  17. Shiki

    Shiki TS Rookie

    Lol. "World's largest neuromorphic supercomputer diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder minutes after being switched on."
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2018
  18. BrandonB

    BrandonB TS Rookie

    Now the Question is. If they have a problem with it, do they call a Doctor or an Engineer?
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,972   +4,008

    You understand you can have a doctorate in engineering, right?
  20. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,399   +5,021

    So this is where your arms go, when you pay an arm and a leg! :)
  21. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,972   +4,008

    Wow, don't get me started about medical costs. This year we got a pretty hefty COLA from Social Security. Trouble is, do to a rise in Medicare premiums, I get 20 dollars less a month this year, than I did last. :mad:.
  22. Terrence Koeman

    Terrence Koeman TS Rookie

    As if anyone could get anywhere near enough to the machine to mount such attacks. None of these bugs are a problem when no people who would use them have access.

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