What’s the best computer in the world? The most souped-up, high-end gaming rig? Whatever supercomputer took the number one spot in the TOP500 this year? The kit inside the datacentres that Apple or Microsoft rely on? Nope: it’s the one inside your skull.
As computers go, brains are way ahead of the competition. They’re small, lightweight, have low energy consumption, and are amazingly adaptable. And they’re also set to be the model for the next wave of advanced computing.
These brain-inspired designs are known collectively as ‘neuromorphic computing’. Even the most advanced computers don’t come close to the human brain — or even most mammal brains — but our grey matter can give engineers and developers a few pointers on how to make computing infrastrastructure more efficient, by mimicking the brain’s own synapses and neurones.
SEE: Building the bionic brain (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
What’s New: Today, Intel Federal LLC announced a three-year agreement with Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) to explore the value of neuromorphic computing for scaled-up computational problems. Sandia will kick off its research using a 50-million neuron Loihi-based system that was delivered to its facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This work with Loihi will lay the foundation for the later phase of the collaboration, which is expected to include continued large-scale neuromorphic research on Intel’s upcoming next-generation neuromorphic architecture and the delivery of Intel’s largest neuromorphic research system to date, which could exceed more than 1 billion neurons in computational capacity.
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A close-up shot of an Intel Nahuku board, each of which contains 8 to 32 Intel Loihi neuromorphic chips. Intel’s latest neuromorphic system, Pohoiki Beach, is made up of multiple Nahuku boards and contains 64 Loihi chips. Pohoiki Beach