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Biologically-Inspired Massively-Parallel Architectures - computing beyond a million processors

S.B. Furber and A.D. Brown


The SpiNNaker project aims to develop parallel computer systems with more than a million embedded procesors. The goal of the project is to support large-scale simulations of systems of spiking neurons in biological real time, an application that is highly parallel but also places very high loads on the communication infrastructure due to the very high connectivity of biological neurons. The scale of the machine requires fault-tolerance and power-efficiency to influence the design throughout, and the development has resulted in innovation at every level of design, including a self-timed inter-chip communication system that is resistant to glitch-induced deadlock and "emergency" hardware packet re-routing around failed inter-chip links, through to run-time support for functional migration and real-time fault mitigation.

PDF (821K) IEEE Copyright