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SpiNNaker: A 1W 18-core System-on-Chip for Massively-Parallel Neural Network Simulation

Eustace Painkras, Luis A. Plana, Jim Garside, Steve Temple, Francesco Galluppi, Cameron Patterson, David R. Lester, Andrew D. Brown and Steve Furber.


The modelling of large systems of spiking neurons is computationally very demanding in terms of processing power and communication. SpiNNaker --Spiking Neural Network architecture-- is a massively-parallel computer system designed to provide a cost-effective and flexible simulator for neuroscience experiments. It can model up to a billion neurons and a trillion synapses in biological real time. The basic building block is the SpiNNaker Chip Multiprocessor (CMP), a custom-designed Globally Asynchronous Locally Synchronous (GALS) system with 18 ARM968 processor nodes residing in synchronous islands, surrounded by a light-weight, packet-switched asynchronous communications infrastructure. In this paper we review the design requirements for its very demanding target application, the SpiNNaker micro-architecture and its implementation issues. We also evaluate the SpiNNaker CMP, which contains 100 million transistors in a 102 mm2 die, provides a peak performance of 3.96 GIPS and has a peak power consumption of 1 W when all processor cores operate at the nominal frequency of 180 MHz. SpiNNaker chips are fully operational, and meet their power and performance requirements.

IEEE Copyright