The Human Brain Project is a pan-European initiative that began in October 2013 and is
projected to last for ten years although we are currently only in Phase I, which will last
until April of 2016.
The project is funded by the EU's ICT program (which support technology research) with a projected cost of one billion euros. Its aim is to help to bring together a wide range of
research communities from hardware engineers to neuroscientists, programmers to
philosophers so that collectively we can make significant progress in unravelling the
most complicated machine known to Man: the human brain itself!
This massive project is divided into a number of different themes called pillars.
Our group in Manchester is part of the neuromorphic pillar whose interest is in
developing and supporting novel computer hardware which can accelerate the
simulation of large neural networks. In this first phase, our aims are to:
Develop and improve the software running on the largest SpiNNaker machines
(consisting of between 100,000 and a million simple microprocessors connected
in a hexagonal grid) to allow networks of many millions of neurons to be simulated
in real time.
Make SpiNNaker hardware available to researchers all over the world via a simple
web interface so that they can run their simulations remotely
Use this platform here in Manchester to contribute to the research into brain function
Work with partners to design a test chip for a next generation SpiNNaker machine,
learning from our experience with the current SpiNNaker machine and feedback
from our user base.
The design will be completed and the machine built in the next phase of the project
SpiNNaker is a novel computer architecture inspired by the working of the human
brain whose development has been funded by the UK's Engineering and Physical
Sciences Research Council, EPSRC.
A SpiNNaker machine is a massively parallel computing platform, targeted towards three main areas of research:
Neuroscience: Understanding how the brain works is a Grand Challenge of 21st century science. We will provide the platform to help neuroscientists to unravel the mystery that is the mind. The largest SpiNNaker machine will be capable of simulating a billion simple neurons, or millions of neurons with complex structure and internal dynamics.
Robotics: SpiNNaker is a good target for researchers in robotics, who need mobile, low power computation. A small SpiNNaker board makes it possible to simulate a network of tens of thousands of spiking neurons, process sensory input and generate motor output, all in real time and in a low power system.
Computer Science: SpiNNaker breaks the rules followed by traditional supercomputers that rely on deterministic, repeatable communications and reliable computation. SpiNNaker nodes communicate using simple messages (spikes) that are inherently unreliable. This break with determinism offers new challenges, but also the potential to discover powerful new principles of massively parallel computation.
Where to go to find out more:
Learn more about the SpiNNaker Project
For more detail on the philosophy of the SpiNNaker Architecture
The heart of the machine is the SpiNNaker chip
Information on development boards and our plans to build SpiNNaker Machines
The System Software running on the machine.
To access tools and software to run on SpiNNaker systems, see our Downloads page
Our Support page provides white papers, documents and FAQs.
The Publications page gives details of papers describing SpiNNaker in detail
For further information on Spinnaker development boards or the Spinnaker project contact us at:
Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 16158 Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:15 am Post subject:
World's largest supercomputer designed and built to work like a human brain is switched on for the first time
The £15 million computer had its one-millionth processor core fitted this week
It can model more neurons in real time than any other machine on the planet
Machine will help scientists to better understand how diseases like Parkinson's impact the brain
By HARRY PETTIT FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 00:01, 2 November 2018 | UPDATED: 07:41, 2 November 2018
The world's largest supercomputer which can complete more than 200 million million actions per second has been switched on for the first time.
The £15 million ($19.5 million) computer, which is designed and built to work like a human brain, had its landmark one-millionth processor core fitted this week.
Dubbed the SpiNNaker machine, it can model more neurons in real time than any other machine on the planet.
The supercomputer will help scientists better understand how neurological diseases like Parkinson's impact the brain.
Researchers at the University of Manchester spent more than 10 years constructing SpiNNaker.
Each of the computer's chips has 100 million moving parts, and are designed to mimic the neurons of the human brain.
Project scientist Professor Steve Furber said: 'SpiNNaker completely re-thinks the way conventional computers work.
'We've essentially created a machine that works more like a brain than a traditional computer, which is extremely exciting.
'The ultimate objective for the project has always been a million cores in a single computer for real time brain modelling applications, and we have now achieved it, which is fantastic.'
Biological neurons are basic brain cells present in the nervous system that communicate primarily by emitting 'spikes' of electrical energy.
Neuromorphic computing uses large scale computer systems containing electronic circuits to mimic these spikes in a machine.
SpiNNaker is unique because, unlike traditional computers, it doesn't communicate by sending large amounts of information from point A to B via a standard network.
Instead it mimics the massively parallel communication architecture of the brain, sending billions of small amounts of information simultaneously to thousands of different destinations.
The computer's creators eventually aim to model up to a billion biological neurons in real time and are now a step closer.
To give an idea of scale, a mouse brain consists of around 100 million neurons and the human brain is 1,000 times bigger than that.
One billion neurons is 1 per cent of the scale of the human brain, which consists of just under 100 billion brain cells, or neurons.
One of the computer's core uses is to help neuroscientists better understand how our own brain works.
It does this by running extremely large scale real-time simulations which aren't possible on other machines.
For example, SpiNNaker has been used to simulate high-level real-time processing in a range of isolated brain networks.
This includes an 80,000 neuron model of a segment of the cortex, the outer layer of the brain that receives and processes information from the senses.
It also has simulated a region of the brain called the Basal Ganglia - an area affected in Parkinson's disease, meaning it has massive potential for neurological breakthroughs in science such as pharmaceutical testing.
IBM unveils computer fed by 'electronic blood' https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24571219
By James Morgan
Science reporter, BBC News, Zurich
18 October 2013
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Dr Patrick Ruch demonstrates liquid fuelled computing
Is liquid fuel the key to zettascale computing? Dr Patrick Ruch with IBM's test kit
IBM has unveiled a prototype of a new brain-inspired computer powered by what it calls "electronic blood".
The firm says it is learning from nature by building computers fuelled and cooled by a liquid, like our minds.
The human brain packs phenomenal computing power into a tiny space and uses only 20 watts of energy - an efficiency IBM is keen to match.
Its new "redox flow" system pumps an electrolyte "blood" through a computer, carrying power in and taking heat out.
Only 1% of a computer is used to process information. And we think we've built a good computer?
Dr Bruno Michel, IBM Zurich
A very basic model was demonstrated this week at the technology giant's Zurich lab by Dr Patrick Ruch and Dr Bruno Michel.
Their vision is that by 2060, a one petaflop computer that would fill half a football field today, will fit on your desktop.
"We want to fit a supercomputer inside a sugarcube. To do that, we need a paradigm shift in electronics - we need to be motivated by our brain," says Michel.
"The human brain is 10,000 times more dense and efficient than any computer today.
"That's possible because it uses only one - extremely efficient - network of capillaries and blood vessels to transport heat and energy - all at the same time."
IBM's brainiest computer to date is Watson, which famously trounced two champions of the US TV quiz show Jeopardy.
The victory was hailed as a landmark for cognitive computing - machine had surpassed man.
Graphic: IBM's vision of a brain-inspired 3D computer
The future of computing? IBM's model uses a liquid to deliver power and remove heat
But the contest was unfair, says Michel. The brains of Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter ran on only 20 watts of energy, whereas Watson needed 85,000 watts.
Energy efficiency - not raw computing power - is the guiding principle for the next generation of computer chips, IBM believes.
Future directions in computing
Our current 2D silicon chips, which for half a century have doubled in power through Moore's Law, are approaching a physical limit where they cannot shrink further without overheating.
"The computer industry uses $30bn of energy and throws it out of the window. We're creating hot air for $30bn," says Michel.
"Ninety-nine per cent of a computer's volume is devoted to cooling and powering. Only 1% is used to process information. And we think we've built a good computer?"
"The brain uses 40% of its volume for functional performance - and only 10% for energy and cooling."
Michel's vision is for a new "bionic" computing architecture, inspired by one of the laws of nature - allometric scaling - where an animal's metabolic power increases with its body size.
An elephant, for example, weighs as much as a million mice. But it consumes 30 times less energy, and can perform a task even a million mice cannot accomplish.
IBM's Bruno Michel with liquid cooled Aquasar server
Bruno Michel with a server from Aquasar - a highly efficient liquid-cooled computer
The same principle holds true in computing, says Michel, whose bionic vision has three core design features.
The first is 3D architecture, with chips stacked high, and memory storage units interwoven with processors.
"It's the difference between a low-rise building, where everything is spread out flat, and a high rise building. You shorten the connection distances," says Matthias Kaiserswerth, director of IBM Zurich.
But there is a very good reason today's chips are gridiron pancakes - exposure to the air is critical to dissipate the intense heat generated by ever-smaller transistors.
Piling chips on top of one another locks this heat inside - a major roadblock to 3D computing.
IBM's solution is integrated liquid cooling - where chips are interlayered with tiny water pipes.
The art of liquid cooling has been demonstrated by Aquasar and put to work inside the German supercomputer SuperMUC which - perversely - harnesses warm water to cool its circuits.
SuperMUC consumes 40% less electricity as a result.
But for IBM to truly match the marvels of the brain, there is a third evolutionary step it must achieve - simultaneous liquid fuelling and cooling.
Just as blood gives sugar in one hand and takes heat with another, IBM is looking for a fluid that can multitask.
Vanadium is the best performer in their current laboratory test system - a type of redox flow unit - similar to a simple battery.
First a liquid - the electrolyte - is charged via electrodes, then pumped into the computer, where it discharges energy to the chip.
SuperMUC uses liquid cooling instead of air - a model for future computer designs
Redox flow is far from a new technology, and neither is it especially complex.
But IBM is the first to stake its chips on this "electronic blood" as the food of future computers - and will attempt to optimise it over the coming decades to achieve zettascale computing.
"To power a zettascale computer today would take more electricity than is produced in the entire world," says Michel.
He is confident that the design hurdles in his bionic model can be surmounted - not least that a whole additional unit is needed to charge the liquid.
And while other labs are betting on spintronics, quantum computing, or photonics to take us beyond silicon, the Zurich team believes the real answer lies right behind our eyes.
"Just as computers help us understand our brains, if we understand our brains we'll make better computers," says director Matthias Kaiserswerth.
He would like to see a future Watson win Jeopardy on a level playing field.
IBM redox flow test system
A redox flow test system - the different coloured liquids have different oxidation states
Other experts in computing agree that IBM's 3D principles are sound. But as to whether bionic computing will be the breakthrough technology, the jury is out.
"The idea of using a fluid to both power and cool strikes me as very novel engineering - killing two birds with one stone," says Prof Alan Woodward, of the University of Surrey's computing department.
"But every form of future computing has its champions - whether it be quantum computing, DNA computing or neuromorphic computing.
"There is a long way to go from the lab to having one of these sitting under your desk."
Prof Steve Furber, leader of the SpiNNaker project agrees that "going into the third dimension" has more to offer than continually shrinking transistors.
"The big issue with 3D computing is getting the heat out - and liquid cooling could be very effective if integrated into 3D systems as proposed here," he told the BBC.
"But all of the above will not get electronics down to the energy-efficiency of the brain.
"That will require many more changes, including a move to analogue computation instead of digital.
"It will also involve breakthroughs in new non-Turing models of computation, for example based on an understanding of how the brain processes information." _________________ www.lawyerscommitteefor9-11inquiry.org www.rethink911.org www.patriotsquestion911.com www.actorsandartistsfor911truth.org www.mediafor911truth.org www.pilotsfor911truth.org www.mp911truth.org www.ae911truth.org www.rl911truth.org www.stj911.org www.v911t.org www.thisweek.org.uk www.abolishwar.org.uk www.elementary.org.uk www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149 http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
Last edited by TonyGosling on Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:20 am; edited 1 time in total
Updated: Jul 12, 2018, 01:47 PM IST
Scientists have developed a computer that mimics the brain's neural networks, and could overcome the speed and power consumption problems of conventional supercomputers. The custom-built computer named SpiNNaker produced results similar to that of the best brain-simulation supercomputer software currently used for neural-signalling research, The system may help advance our knowledge of neural processing in the brain, to include learning and disorders such as epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease.
"SpiNNaker can support detailed biological models of the cortex - the outer layer of the brain that receives and processes information from the senses - delivering results very similar to those from an equivalent supercomputer software simulation," said Sacha van Albada, from the Julich Research Centre in Germany. "The ability to run large-scale detailed neural networks quickly and at low power consumption will advance robotics research and facilitate studies on learning and brain disorders," said Albada, lead author of the study published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.
The human brain is extremely complex, comprising 100 billion interconnected brain cells. We understand how individual neurons and their components behave and communicate with each other and on the larger scale, which areas of the brain are used for sensory perception, action and cognition. However, we know less about the translation of neural activity into behaviour, such as turning thought into muscle movement.
Supercomputer software has helped by simulating the exchange of signals between neurons, but even the best software run on the fastest supercomputers to date can only simulate one per cent of the human brain. "It is presently unclear which computer architecture is best suited to study whole-brain networks efficiently," said Markus Diesmann, a professor at the Julich Research Centre.
"Today's supercomputers require several minutes to simulate one second of real time, so studies on processes like learning, which take hours and days in real time are currently out of reach," said Diesmann.
"There is a huge gap between the energy consumption of the brain and today's supercomputers. Brain-inspired computing allows us to investigate how close we can get to the energy efficiency of the brain using electronics," he said. Developed over the past 15 years and based on the structure and function of the human brain, SpiNNaker - part of the Neuromorphic Computing Platform of the Human Brain Project - is a custom-built cmputer composed of half a million of simple computing elements controlled by its own software.
The researchers compared the accuracy, speed and energy efficiency of SpiNNaker with that of NEST - a specialist supercomputer software currently in use for brain neuron-signalling research. "The simulations run on NEST and SpiNNaker showed very similar results," said Steve Furber, a professor at the University of Manchester in the UK.
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