[ExI] A new chip from IBM called TrueNorth

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Fri Aug 8 15:38:34 UTC 2014

In yesterday's issue of the journal Science there is a research article
about IBM's new chip called "TrueNorth" that has logical architecture
similar to the mammalian neocortex. It has 256 million electronic synapses;
that's about as complex as the brain of a bee.  The power density of
TrueNorth is only .02 Watts per cm^2 of chip area, for a conventional CPU
it it's close to 100 Watts. Terrence J. Sejnowski, director of the Salk
Institute’s Computational Neurobiology Laboratory said "The TrueNorth chip
is like the first transistor, it will take many generations before it can
compete, but when it does, it will be a scalable architecture that can be
delivered to cellphones". Horst Simon, deputy director of the Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory said "It is a remarkable achievement in terms
of scalability and low power consumption". The following is the abstract of
the August 8 2014 article:

*"Inspired by the brain’s structure, we have developed an efficient,
scalable, and flexible non–von Neumann architecture that leverages
contemporary silicon technology. To demonstrate, we built a
5.4-billion-transistor chip with 4096 neurosynaptic cores interconnected
via an intrachip network that integrates 1 million programmable spiking
neurons and 256 million configurable synapses. Chips can be tiled in two
dimensions via an interchip communication interface, seamlessly scaling the
architecture to a cortexlike sheet of arbitrary size. The architecture is
well suited to many applications that use complex neural networks in real
time, for example, multiobject detection and classification. With
400-pixel-by-240-pixel video input at 30 frames per second, the chip
consumes 63 milliwatts. *"

 John K Clark
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