TrueNorth: A Brain-Inspired Chip With One-Million Neurons

November 24, 2014
Davis Auditorium, CEPSR
Speaker: Paul Merolla, Research Scientist, Brain-Inspired Computing Group, IBM


Traditional computers are grossly inefficient in terms of power and speed when running certain classes of interesting algorithms, such as massively interconnected neural networks. In this talk, I will describe IBM’s recent chip architecture—called TrueNorth—that is a flexible, efficient, and scalable platform for running large-scale spiking neural networks. TrueNorth’s key design choice is to use an on-chip network of lightweight cores (64-by-64 array), where each core operates in parallel and co-localizes computation (neurons) and memory (state and connections) to minimize data movement. With 5.4 billion transistors in a 28nm technology, TrueNorth has one million programmable neurons and 256 million configurable synapses, and consumes less than 100mW while running at real-time.

I will also describe our recent work to create a software ecosystem built on top of the TrueNorth hardware, which includes a functional simulator, programming language, and machine learning tools for training networks. This ecosystem has been successfully used by our team to develop a complex vision task (multi-object detection and classification) that achieves state-of-the art performance on the NeoVision tower dataset.

Finally, I will talk about our effort to scale up to larger networks by tiling chips in two dimensions, which is natively supported by TrueNorth's inter-chip communication interface. Specifically, I will present results from our latest 4-by-4 chip system that has 16 million neurons and 4 billion synapses.

Speaker Bio

Paul MerollaPaul Merolla received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in Bioengineering (2006) and a BS from the University of Virginia in Electrical Engineering (2000). He was a postdoctoral scholar in Stanford's Brains in Silicon lab (2006 - 2010). He has been a research scientist in IBM's Brain-Inspired Computing group since 2010.




Hosted by Aurel A. Lazar.

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