The SpiNNaker (Spiking Neural Network Architecture) project will soon deliver a machine incorporating a million ARM processor cores for real-time modeling of large-scale spiking neural networks. Although the scale of the machine is in the realms of high-performance computing, the technology used to build the machine comes very much from the mobile embedded world, using small integer cores and Network-on-Chip communications both on and between chips. The full machine will use a total of 10 square meters of active silicon area with 57,600 routers using predominantly multicast algorithms to convey real-time spike information through a lightweight asynchronous packet-switched fabric. This paper presents the philosophy behind the machine, and the future prospects for systems with increased cognitive capabilities based on an increasing understanding of how biological brains process information.
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