Advanced Processor Technologies Home
APT Advanced Processor Technologies Research Group

SpiNNaker: Fault Tolerance in a Power- and Area- Constrained Large-Scale Neuromimetic Architecture

Javier Navaridas, Steve Furber, Jim Garside, Xin Jin, Mukaram Khan, David Lester, Mikel Luján, José Miguel-Alonso, Eustace Painkras, Cameron Patterson, Luis A. Plana, Alexander Rast, Dominic Richards, Yebin Shi, Steve Temple, Jian Wu, Shufan Yang


SpiNNaker is a biologically-inspired massively-parallel computer designed to model up to a billion spiking neurons in real-time. A full-fledged implementation of a SpiNNaker system will comprise more than 105 integrated circuits (half of which are SDRAMs and half multi-core systems-on-chip). Given this scale, it is unavoidable that some components fail and, in consequence, fault-tolerance is a foundation of the system design. Although the target application can tolerate a certain, low level of failures, important efforts have been devoted to incorporate different techniques for fault tolerance. This paper is devoted to discussing how hardware and software mechanisms collaborate to make SpiNNaker operate properly even in the very likely scenario of component failures and how it can tolerate system-degradation levels well above those expected.