Intel has announced a significant advance for its neuromorphic research processor, codenamed Loihi.
The company has now scaled up its Loihi implementation to the 64-processor level, allowing it to create a system with more than 8M neurons.
The basic Loihi processor contains 128 neuromorphic cores, three Lakefield CPU cores, and an off-chip communication network.
In theory, Loihi can scale all the way up to 4,096 on-chip cores and 16,384 chips, though Intel has said it has no plans to commercialize a design this large.
“With the Loihi chip we’ve been able to demonstrate 109 times lower power consumption running a real-time deep learning benchmark compared to a GPU, and 5 times lower power consumption compared to specialized IoT inference hardware,” said Chris Eliasmith, co-CEO of Applied Brain Research and professor at University of Waterloo.
We’ve covered the advances and research in neuromorphic computing for several years at ET. The work being done on these CPUs is closely related to the work that’s being conducted in AI and machine intelligence overall, but neuromorphic computing isn’t just concerned with how to run AI / ML workloads efficiently on existing chips.
Transistors are not equivalent to neurons and the spiking neural network model that Loihi uses for transmitting information across its own processor cores is intended to be closer to the biological processes humans and other animals use than traditional silicon.
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