Researchers at the University of Sussex have created the fastest and most energy efficient simulation of part of a rat brain using off-the-shelf computer hardware.
Dr James Knight and Prof Thomas Nowotny from the University of Sussex’s School of Engineering and Informatics have beaten a top 50 supercomputer by running brain simulations using their own GeNN software and Graphics Processing Units (GPUs).
By developing faster and more efficient simulators, the academics hope to increase the level of understanding into brain function and, in particular, identify how damage to particular structures in neurons can lead to deficits in brain function. Faster, more advanced simulators could help improve understanding of neurological disorders by pinpointing the areas of the brain that cause epileptic seizures.
Improved simulators could also accelerate progress within the development of AI – the GeNN software is already being used at the University of Sussex to build autonomous robots including flying drones which can be controlled through simulated insect brains.
Prof Nowotny, Professor of Informatics at the University of Sussex, said: “Over the last three decades, computers have become drastically more powerful, largely due to our ability to fabricate computer chips with smaller and smaller components which, in turn, allows them to operate faster. This process has hit a wall and it has become much harder to build faster computers without employing radically different architectures. GPUs are one such architecture and our work shows that, in the near term, they are a competitive design for high performance computing and have the potential to make advances far beyond where CPUs have brought us to so far.”
The research involved using the team’s own GeNN software to implement and test two established computational neuroscience models; one of a cortical microcircuit consisting of eight populations of neurons and a balanced random network with spike-timing dependent plasticity – a process which has been shown to be fundamental to biological learning.
A single GPU was able to achieve processing speeds up to 10% faster than is currently possible using either a supercomputer or the SpiNNaker neuromorphic system, a custom-built machine developed as a part of the £1bn European Human Brain Project (HBP).
The University of Sussex team were also able to achieve energy savings of 10 times compared to either the SpiNNaker or supercomputer simulations.
Moving forward, the academics believe that the flexibility and power of GPUs means that they could play a key role in creating simulators capable of running models that begin to approach the complexity of the human brain.
Dr Knight, Research Fellow in Computer Science at the University of Sussex, said: “Although we’re a long way from having the understanding necessary to build models of the entire human brain, we’re approaching the point where the latest exascale supercomputers have the raw computing power that would be required to simulate them. Many of these systems rely on GPUs so we’re delighted with these latest results which show how well-suited GPUs are to brain simulations. Over the next year we are hoping to extend our work to a model 50 times larger of a monkey visual systems by using multiple, interconnected GPUs.”
Chris Emerson, head of Higher-Education and Research Sales in UK and Ireland at NVIDIA, said: “We are very impressed by the use of the NVIDIA AI compute platform for brain simulations spear-headed at the University of Sussex and are glad we are able to support research at the leading edge of computational neuroscience as well as AI.”
The work was carried out within the Brains on Board project, in which researchers from University of Sheffield, Queen Mary University and University of Sussex are developing brain simulations to be used as controllers of autonomous robots.
The Latest on: Brain simulations
via Google News
The Latest on: Brain simulations
- It beat humanity’s best Go players and now Google is using football to train next-generation AI technologieson August 16, 2019 at 5:09 pm
The US internet giant published research in June revealing that its “Brain Team” is working on a game known ... available title called Gameplay Football and uses advanced game simulation, including ...
- Danny Cohen, Who Helped Set the Stage for a Digital Era, Dies at 81on August 16, 2019 at 3:48 pm
“The idea of having a machine that acts like a brain was very fascinating ... He started work on the visual flight simulator while he was at M.I.T. Two years later he heard that Ivan Sutherland was ...
- Scientists take first step towards digital map of the ion channels in the brainon August 16, 2019 at 2:06 am
The scientists also hope that mapping the ion channels of the brain could help researchers working on whole brain simulation. There have been numerous studies on Kv channels over the last few decades.
- Scientists Create Weird Form of Carbon That Could One Day Power an AI Brainon August 15, 2019 at 11:17 am
Most "neural networks" today are simulations of physical neural networks relying on ... together at the atomic level—tiny carbon neurons that create a true artificial brain. "We are looking for ...
- Pores for thought: Ion channel study beckons first whole-brain simulationon August 15, 2019 at 1:03 am
Pores at the surface of neurons and muscle cells control your every thought, movement; the very beating of your heart. The way the pores behave—that is open, close, or lock for a short time ...
- Cray to develop insanely fast $600M ‘El Capitan’ supercomputer for U.S. nuclear simulationson August 13, 2019 at 2:00 pm
Seattle-based supercomputer maker Cray has been tapped to develop a new $600 million system for the U.S. Department of Energy, capable of conducting 3D simulations at unprecedented ... capable of ...
- Universe simulation alert: Why scientists should NEVER investigate ‘brain-in-a-vat’ theoryon August 13, 2019 at 8:35 am
Theories our universe is actually a simulation have been posed for centuries. French philosopher René Descartes originally theorised about the ‘brain-in-a-vat’ in his 1641 ‘Meditations on First ...
- Montreal researchers look to VR to train brain surgeonson August 11, 2019 at 7:57 am
“Then we took colour and put that into the simulator, the way the blood vessels bleed.” The virtually constructed brain looks and moves like a real brain. Through the simulation, students have to ...
- The brain inspires a new type of artificial intelligenceon August 9, 2019 at 1:49 pm
Using advanced experiments on neuronal cultures and large scale simulations, scientists have demonstrated a new type of ultrafast artificial intelligence algorithms -- based on the very slow brain ...
- Training brain surgeons with VR and AIon August 7, 2019 at 10:35 am
Del Maestro of Montreal talks about a Canadian developed surgical simulator involving VR and AI is considered ... will be highly skilled and expert before they begin leading delicate brain surgery in ...
via Bing News