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Hemingway inspired reflection, brain inspired journey

TrueNorth architecture delivers maximal computational expressivity with minimal volume and power consumption. This is the result of a painstaking design process and years of work by a talented team of scientists and engineers, grounded in neuroscience, working creatively within the constraints of the latest semiconductor fabrication technologies, to judiciously balance function, efficiency, computational utility and practicality. We reflect upon this accomplishment by admiring and emulating another paragon of parsimony, drawn from the realm of literature.

One day over lunch, Ernest Hemingway is said to have taken bets, from an assembled group of writer friends, that it would not be possible to write an entire story in just six words. Once all bets were on the table, Hemingway produced the following: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." He proceeded to collect his winnings.

Inspired by Hemingway's feat, we set out to portray the Essence, the Impact, the Team and the Process behind the creation of TrueNorth with a series of six-word stories. We selected 16 stories to anticipate the achievement of our next milestone: a 16-chip TrueNorth board comprising 16 million neurons and over 4 billion SyNAPSES. The backdrop for each story is a chip package designed to visually express the inherent tileability that allows TrueNorth to attain such unprecedented scales. Like TrueNorth chips, each story stands alone, embodying its own expressive dimensions even as it tiles, seamlessly alongside its neighbors, to create a richer, more complete whole.

The Essence
Essence


The Impact
Impact
SOPS = Synaptic Operations Per Second; FLOPS = Floating-point Operations Per Second


The Process
Process


The Team
Team


This entire blog post including text and artwork was put together by Ben Shaw by pooling creative contributions from the following team members: Alex Andreopoulos, Andrew Cassidy, Ben Shaw, Bryan Jackson, David Berg, Dharmendra S Modha, Filipp Akopyan, Jeff Kusnitz, John Arthur, John Best, Jun Sawada, Myron Flickner, Pallab Data, Paul Merolla, Rathinakumar Appuswamy, Rodrigo Alvarez-Icaza, Sue Gilson, Timothy Melano, Wendy Belluomini and William Risk. Chip package design by Aaron Cox.