Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing to add,
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Antoine de Saint-exupéry

Intel presents the "Loihi" is a neuromorphic processor, which is based on the principles of brain functioning

29 Sep 2017

Many famous technology companies such as IBM, Apple, Google, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and Intel, have created their own versions of specialized chips and processors focused on the tasks of image recognition, for example, which are based on the technologies underlying machine learning and self-study. However, Intel is announcing the development of a new neuromorphic processor called "Loihi" is going to make artificial intelligence technology available for a wider range of stakeholders. Instead use "raw" computing power to solve complex problems in a traditional way, the new neuromorphic processor operates using the basic principles of the functioning of the brain.

Intel leads the development of neuromorphic processors for quite some time, in 2012, specialists of the company have even developed the first experimental chip. The basis of this chip, instead of conventional logic elements, are the so-called artificial pulsed neurons (spiking neurons), which are the basic element of the processor. These neurons are able to pass through signals of various size and form interneuronal connections (synapses) is nearly the same as the neurons of the brain. In addition, each artificial neuron is not associated with a clock generator or timer may, if necessary, to generate a signal at an arbitrary point in time.

On the processor chip "Loihi" is 1024 hardware pulse of neurons with which you can model 130 thousands of neurons, which, in turn, can form 130 million synaptic connections. These features make the neuromorphic processor "Loihi" more complex than the brain of primitive beings, but the human brain's 80 billion neurons it is still very, very far away.

According to available information, the processor "Loihi" could be the basis of the student and svobodnogo the computer, which will consume thousands of times less energy than a conventional computer, solving this problem only at the expense of high computing power. In addition, the new neuromorphic processor could be something like a coprocessor, supplying functions of artificial intelligence of the Central processor of a computer system, which, thanks to this, will be able to learn things and perform the work for which it had not trained.

It should be noted that the processor "Loihi" is not the first neuromorphic processor, which appeared in the world over the last few years. IBM had developed a neuromorphic processor "North", which contains 4096 neurosynaptic cores, able to simulate a million neurons and 256 million synapses. The advantages of such an impressive "neuromorphic computing power" CPU "North" are crossed out by one fact, this processor is fundamentally not suited for tasks based on common models and algorithms, deep learning, called NeuFlow.

The Intel engineers themselves admit that the use of the CPU "Loihi" calculations of some models of deep learning will be very inefficient. But he will bring the maximum efficiency on the so-called streaming algorithms, artificial intelligence, algorithms, processing a continuous input data stream. Because of this and other features of the CPU "Loihi", according to forecasts from Intel, its main consumers will be the universities and research organizations working towards the further development of artificial intelligence technologies.

The first prototypes of chips "Loihi" will be made in November this year, and serial neuromorphic processors that will be manufactured using 14-nm process, will arrive on the market in the first half of 2018.