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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday March 25 2020, @08:45AM   Printer-friendly
from the simulating-a-brain dept.

Intel's Neuromorphic Chip Scales Up (and It Smells)

Neuromorphic chips attempt to directly mimic the behavior of the human brain. Intel, which introduced its Loihi neuromorphic chip in 2017, has just announced that Loihi has been scaled up into a system that simulates over 100 million neurons. Furthermore, it announced that the chip smells. (That is to say: it's able to smell. To a nose, it probably just smells like a computer chip.)

Loihi is Intel's fifth-generation neuromorphic chip. It packs 128 cores – each of which has a built-in learning module – and a total of around 131,000 computational "neurons" that communicate with one another, allowing the chip to understand stimuli. The new system, Pohoiki Springs, contains over 100 million of those computational neurons. It consists of 768 Loihi chips, mounted on Intel Nahuku boards in a chassis that Intel describes as "the size of five standard servers," and a row of Arria10 FPGA boards. By contrast, Kapoho Bay, Intel's smallest neuromorphic device, consists of just two Loihi chips with 262,000 neurons.

"Pohoiki Springs scales up our Loihi neuromorphic research chip by more than 750 times, while operating at a power level of under 500 watts," said Mike Davies, director of Intel's Neuromorphic Computing Lab. "The system enables our research partners to explore ways to accelerate workloads that run slowly today on conventional architectures, including high-performance computing systems."

Also at The Next Platform, EE Times, and Wccftech.


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  • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday March 25 2020, @09:36AM (4 children)

    by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Wednesday March 25 2020, @09:36AM (#975387) Homepage
    "enables our research partners to explore ways to accelerate workloads"

    Yes, it enables others to explore things, but has it actually *done* anything? Press releases are written by people who want to make nothing sound like something, and that grinds my gears.
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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday March 25 2020, @11:53AM (3 children)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday March 25 2020, @11:53AM (#975410) Journal

    A joint effort between Intel Labs and Cornell University put Intel’s neuromorphic research chip, Loihi, to the test by teaching it how to recognize a variety of smells in a chaotic environment. The researchers created a dataset by pumping ten hazardous chemicals (including acetone, ammonia and methane) through a wind tunnel, where a set of 72 chemical sensors collected signals. Then, the researchers leveraged Loihi and a neural algorithm designed to mimic the brain’s olfactory circuits to train the chip to recognize all ten of those hazardous chemicals by smell.

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25 2020, @01:28PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25 2020, @01:28PM (#975445)

      What are the odds they even got the smell detecting part wrong?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vibration_theory_of_olfaction [wikipedia.org]

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday March 25 2020, @01:32PM (1 child)

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday March 25 2020, @01:32PM (#975448) Journal

        If it can detect all of the compounds they throw at it correctly, then there isn't a problem. It's possible they don't need to know how it works (a common theme for machine learning and neuromorphic).

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        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by FatPhil on Thursday March 26 2020, @04:28AM

          by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Thursday March 26 2020, @04:28AM (#975726) Homepage
          Until someone discovers that by adding a splash of capsaicin, you can get the AI to repeatedly detect cheese as petril.
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