SpiNNaker2: TU Dresden, University of Manchester and Globalfoundries announce a Breakthrough in AI Cloud Systems
Technische Universität Dresden, the University of Manchester, Racyics GmbH and Globalfoundries (GF), the world’s leading specialty foundry, today announced the tapeout of the SpiNNaker2 chip, a new artificial intelligence chip inspired by the human brain.
Based on the SpiNNaker infrastructure developed by University Manchester, the hybrid AI architecture created at TU Dresden, the adaptive body bias IP platform ABX by Racyics, and utilizing GF’s 22FDX solution, SpiNNaker2 is a realtime neuromorphic AI processor with unparalleled efficiency and below millisecond latency for event-based systems.
SpiNNaker2 is designed to scale up to a 70.000 chip cloud system while maintaining strict real time operation. SpiNNaker2 is a key enabler for real time AI at massive data rates. It will have a disruptive impact on AI applications such as smart cities, 5G, tactile internet, autonomous driving, which are beyond current hardware because of their triple demands on low latency, high throughput, and high energy efficiency. The full 10 Mio core SpiNNaker2 machine, called “SpiNNcloud”, will be deployed at Technische Universität Dresden for research purposes. In parallel, the startup ‚SpiNNcloud Systems GmbH‘ will make SpiNNaker2 commercially available.
AI is having an increasingly large impact on our daily lives. However, current AI hardware and algorithms are still only partially inspired by the major blueprint for AI, i.e. the human brain. In particular, even the best AI hardware is still far away from the 20W power consumption, the low latency and the unprecedented large scale, high-throughput processing offered by the human brain. SpiNNaker2 is a multi-processor system for event based real-time processing of both classic AI and upcoming sparse, event-based compute paradigms inspired by the parsimonious, on-demand processing nature of the brain. It has been developed within the European Union flagship project “Human Brain Project”.
SpiNNaker2 features a patented event-based compute architecture with power management and custom AI hardware acceleration. Its backbone is a tailored, light weight communication infrastructure that can be scaled from edge devices up to large scale server/cloud applications, while not suffering from the inherent slow-down that usually results from scaling computing up to cloud dimensions.
As Prof. Steve Furber (University of Manchester) states: „There is still a great deal to learn from biology if we are to realize the full potential of AI in the future. SpiNNaker2 has been designed to bridge the gulf between realistic brain models and AI so that each may increasingly be informed by the other“.
The SpiNNaker2 Chip is targeted to build up a 70.000 chip, 10 Mio Arm core SpiNNcloud at TU Dresden, which will be used with local initiatives such the excellency cluster CeTI, national and international partners to explore applications that range from autonomous driving, handling of the data of a smart city in real time, tactile internet applications, up to biomedical processing.
„Our holistic sparsity-optimized system design, combined with a unique hybrid AI framework enables real-time AI at an unprecedented large-scale. We will do world-class research on novel machine learning via the SpiNNaker2 machine at TU Dresden, but we are proud to also offer this unique AI commercially through our startup SpiNNcloud Systems,“ states Prof. Christian Mayr (TU Dresden).
SpiNNaker2 was realized in the 22FDX Ecosystem using the adaptive body biasing IP platform (ABX) of Racyics GmbH to leverage the full potential of 22FDX. It enables SpiNNaker2 to robustly operate at the minimum energy point of the processing elements at 0.50V with additional support of dynamic voltage and frequency scaling for instantaneous high performance on demand. Thus, SpiNNaker2 leverages the advanced power saving features of 22FDX, the flagship technology offered by GF Dresden. The complete chip design was done using makeChip a turnkey hosted design environment for 22FDX offered by Racyics. This approach was key for the academic group to close the so-called lab-to-fab gap and to realize a very complex System-on-Chip for volume production successfully.
22FDX, GF’s unique 22nm FD-SOI transistor technology, with its world class low standby power and optimized transistor performance at low cost, proves to be an ideal basis at the forefront of true artificial intelligence. The 22FDX based SpiNNaker2 chip shows the synergy of European world-class AI research meeting European world-class chip technology, beginning to close the huge gap between pure computing power AI and true brain-like AI.
„As the world’s leading specialty foundry, GF enables world-class teams to achieve commercial breakthroughs. SpiNNaker2 is tangible evidence of the outstanding performance at extremely low power achieved by combining the latest advancements in brain-like artificial intelligence and our high-performance 22FDX technology,“ says Dr. Manfred Horstmann, head of Globalfoundries Dresden.
Prof. Christian Mayr
University of Manchester
SpiNNcloud Systems GmbH