SC 2012
Conference paper

Compass: A scalable simulator for an architecture for cognitive computing

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Inspired by the function, power, and volume of the organic brain, we are developing TrueNorth, a novel modular, non-von Neumann, ultra-low power, compact architecture. TrueNorth consists of a scalable network of neurosynaptic cores, with each core containing neurons, dendrites, synapses, and axons. To set sail for TrueNorth, we developed Compass, a multi-threaded, massively parallel functional simulator and a parallel compiler that maps a network of long-distance pathways in the macaque monkey brain to TrueNorth. We demonstrate near-perfect weak scaling on a 16 rack IBM® Blue Gene®/Q (262144 CPUs, 256 TB memory), achieving an unprecedented scale of 256 million neurosynaptic cores containing 65 billion neurons and 16 trillion synapses running only 388x slower than real time with an average spiking rate of 8.1 Hz. By using emerging PGAS communication primitives, we also demonstrate 2x better real-time performance over MPI primitives on a 4 rack Blue Gene/P (16384 CPUs, 16 TB memory). © 2012 IEEE.