It takes 1m ARM processors to make 1b brain neurons

How many ARM processors does it take to simulate all the neurons in one human brain? A lot.

A group of British researchers led by the daddy of the ARM processor, normally found in smartphones, went to find out how many how many neurons can an ARM chip simulate.

The SpiNNaker project was a joint venture between Steve Furber, ICL professor of engineering at the University of Manchester and former main designer of the 32-bit ARM RISC processor at Acorn in the 1980s, and Andrew Brown of the University of Southampton. The two researchers plan on stringing together 1 million ARM processors to match power of 1 billion neurons in a human brain.

From the numbers, it might seem technology wins yet again, but as The Register notes, the human brain has 80-90 billion neurons. So those ARM processors can only produce roughly 1 percent of a human brain's complexity. The researchers' real goal is to create a silicon analog that can simulate the brain's ability to have concurrent processes when it fires multiple neurons thinking of different things.

As for the processor build, Fuber didn't choose ARM because it was his favorite, but because they are cheap, energy efficient, and they can match a high-end desktop processor when enough of them are running together. So far the SpiNNakker team has designed processors with four and eight ARM968E-S cores but 20 processors on a single die is the goal. Each processor packet also has 64KB of data cache, 32KB of instruction cache, a communications controller that simulates neural spikes using packets, and a memory controller to link to 1GB of DDR1 main memory.

via The Register and Engadget]

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags processorsArmComponentsSteve FurberUniversity of Manchester

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Kevin Lee

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?