Real-time cortical simulations - Energy and interconnect scaling on distributed systems

by   Francesco Simula, et al.

We profile the impact of computation and inter-processor communication on the energy consumption and on the scaling of cortical simulations approaching the real-time regime on distributed computing platforms. Also, the speed and energy consumption of processor architectures typical of standard HPC and embedded platforms are compared. We demonstrate the importance of the design of low-latency interconnect for speed and energy consumption. The cost of cortical simulations is quantified using the Joule per synaptic event metric on both architectures. Reaching efficient real-time on large scale cortical simulations is of increasing relevance for both future bio-inspired artificial intelligence applications and for understanding the cognitive functions of the brain, a scientific quest that will require to embed large scale simulations into highly complex virtual or real worlds. This work stands at the crossroads between the WaveScalES experiment in the Human Brain Project (HBP), which includes the objective of large scale thalamo-cortical simulations of brain states and their transitions, and the ExaNeSt and EuroExa projects, that investigate the design of an ARM-based, low-power High Performance Computing (HPC) architecture with a dedicated interconnect scalable to million of cores; simulation of deep sleep Slow Wave Activity (SWA) and Asynchronous aWake (AW) regimes expressed by thalamo-cortical models are among their benchmarks.


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