Education Session for US Senate & House
Neuromorphic engineering combines the architectural and computational principles of systems neuroscience with semiconductor electronics, with the aim of building efficient and compact devices that mimic the synaptic and neural machinery of the brain. Neuromorphic engineering promises extremely low energy consumptions, comparable to those of the nervous system. However, until now the neuromorphic approach has been restricted to relatively simple circuits and specialized functions, rendering elusive a direct comparison of their energy consumption to that used by conventional von Neumann digital machines solving real-world tasks. Here we show that a recent technology developed by IBM can be leveraged to realize neuromorphic circuits that operate as classifiers of complex real-world stimuli. These circuits emulate enough neurons to compete with state-of-the-art classifiers. We also show that the energy consumption of the IBM chip is typically 2 or more orders of magnitude lower than that of conventional digital machines when implementing classifiers with comparable performance. Moreover, the spike-based dynamics display a trade-off between integration time and accuracy, which naturally translates into algorithms that can be flexibly deployed for either fast and approximate classifications, or more accurate classifications at the mere expense of longer running times and higher energy costs. This work finally proves that the neuromorphic approach can be efficiently used in real-world applications and it has significant advantages over conventional digital devices when energy consumption is considered.
Guest Post by Ben G. Shaw, Organizing Chair of Cognitive Systems Colloquium.
This is continued from the previous post dated November 12, 2014.
To highlight the transformative potential of IBM's Neurosynaptic System and its impact on computation in the Cognitive Era, IBM Research hosted nearly 200 eminent thinkers and pioneers in the field of brain-inspired computing at the IBM Research - Almaden Cognitive Systems Colloquium. The program featured over a dozen outstanding speakers and distinguished panelists. Attendees included nearly 200 thought leaders and potential early adopters from government, industry, academia, research and the venture community.
Recurring Themes of the Day:
SyNAPSE Deep Dive:
In addition to reviewing the state of knowledge in the field of brain-inspired computing and a forward-looking panel discussion, participants took a concentrated "Deep Dive" into the recently announced IBM Neurosynaptic System including the 1-million neuron TrueNorth chip, architecture, development boards, programming paradigm, applications, education and ecosystem. Inspired by the brain, TrueNorth is an architecture and a substrate for non-von Neumann, event-driven, multi-modal, real-time spatio-temporal pattern recognition, sensory processing and integrated sensor-actuator systems. TrueNorth's extreme power efficiency and inherent scalability will revolutionize applications in mobile and embedded systems, at the same time allowing neural algorithms to achieve previously unattainable scales, running quickly, efficiently and natively in hardware.
Distinguished Speakers and Panelists:
The audience included luminaries such as Turing Prize Awardee, Ivan Sutherland, and Von Neumann Prize Awardee, Nimrod Megiddo. Four IBM Fellows were in attendance (Ronald Fagin, C. Mohan, Hamid Pirahesh, Stuart Parkin), as were prominent founders and visionaries in the field of brain-inspired computing, including Warren Hunt (UT Austin), Tim Lance (NYSERNet), Einar Gall (Neurosciences Institute), Gert Cauwenberghs (UCSD), Ken Kreutz-Delgado (UCSD) and Jeff Krichmar (UC Irvine).
On March 10, 2015, at the 56th Foundation Day of IIT Bombay, I was selected for Distinguished Alumnus Award. I am grateful for the education that I received at IIT Bombay, for my teachers, for my fellow students, for my hostel mates, for the mess workers who fed me for four years, for the support staff, for my colleagues at IBM, and, of course, my family. Of the nearly 50,000 alumni, to date, roughly 100 have been honored. Previous Awardees include Nandan Nilekani and Kanwal Rekhi as well as two IBM Fellows Subramanian Iyer and Ramesh Agarwal.
Photo Credit: Hita Bambhania-Modha
On November 21, 2014, at Supercomputing 2014, I participated in a panel on "Beyond Von Neumann, Neuromophic Systems and Architectures" organized by Mark E. Dean along with R. Jacob Vogelstein, Karlheinz Meier, Kris Carlson, and Dhireesha Kudithipudi.
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