Brain-Inspired Computing Concepts Take Center Stage at ICONS Conference

August 12, 2021

Aug. 12, 2021 — The fourth annual International Conference on Neuromorphic Systems, or ICONS, which took place virtually from July 27 to 29, assembled 175 participants scattered across four continents to attend live sessions, view prerecorded presentations and converse with peers about pushing the boundaries of novel architectures, models and applications.

Hosted by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory every year since 2017, ICONS provides a premier platform for generating and describing insights into the advancement of neuromorphic systems. Computing resources in this category use hardware and software designed to emulate the human brain’s complex data analysis and decision-making capabilities.

Program Co-Chair Katie Schuman and other scientists who specialize in this field aim to provide alternatives to conventional computing methods, a goal that requires not only new physical systems but also more sophisticated algorithms and user-friendly software frameworks. Throughout the event, speakers emphasized the importance of developing and distributing these resources to enable real-world experiments.

“Neuromorphic work in previous years has mostly focused on hardware, but we heard a lot this year about open-source software and the computer science side of things, which was exciting,” said Schuman, a computer scientist at ORNL. “There’s been a shift in the community in recent years that’s led to an explosion of diverse algorithms for advanced applications.”

The benefits of this approach could be astronomical when the feasible amount of computing power available for research purposes eventually stops growing on a steady trajectory, a long-awaited scenario known as the end of Moore’s law.

ICONS 2021 participants viewed full-length presentations and short “lightning talks,” one of which showcased a neuromorphic car racing around a track made of cardboard in Schuman’s basement. By testing driving performance in this controlled environment, Schuman and her collaborators — including General Chair Tom Potok and Robert Patton of ORNL’s Data and AI Systems Section — hope to better understand how neural networking might be used to control autonomous vehicles.

Other activities included a deep learning tutorial, a series of six poster discussions, a session focused on programs funded by DOE and other agencies, and the second installment of a doctoral consortium.

Designed for Ph.D. students nearing graduation, this portion of the conference allowed participants to explain their research, receive feedback from new mentors and potential employers and ask a diverse group of panelists about their career paths. ICONS attendees, including several former students from last year’s consortium, submitted 29 papers for the conference proceedings.

This year’s event also included a late-breaking results session, during which five speakers described bleeding-edge neuromorphic computing accomplishments reached within the last month or even the last week, giving the rest of the community a glimpse into their progress before the results are compiled in papers, posters or other formal documents.

Several keynote speakers also summarized the state of biologically inspired algorithms from different angles. Emre Neftci of the University of California, Irvine, and the Jülich Research Centre focused on the benefits of traditional deep learning algorithms, and Julie Grollier of the National Center for Scientific Research/Thales Laboratory in France determined which types of devices are needed to efficiently incorporate algorithms into hardware.

Finally, Yulia Sandamirskaya of Intel highlighted the value of algorithms beyond those that rely on deep learning, described her company’s efforts to become a one-stop shop for algorithm development, simulation and hardware implementation and previewed an upcoming software framework.

“Neuromorphic algorithms and applications outside of deep learning are really important aspects of the field that are often overshadowed,” Schuman said. “We can do amazing work by taking inspiration from biology and not boxing ourselves into deep learning as the only training method.”

Because attendees were located across the globe, organizers had to navigate drastically different time zones. Despite best efforts to limit sessions to business hours, the sheer number of locales inevitably led to unorthodox timing, from 10:00 p.m. talks in Australia to 4:00 a.m. poster presentations in Singapore. Still, the accessibility of the virtual format drew a more diverse audience than previous events.

“The last two years of the conference have seen much more geographic diversity,” Schuman said. “We’ve had occasional attendees from Europe and Asia before, but we’re able to accommodate so many more online.”

To continue encouraging those worldwide connections, ICONS will likely be a hybrid conference with virtual and in-person components going forward. This event was supported by DOE’s Advanced Scientific Computing Research program.

UT-Battelle LLC manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory for DOE’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://energy.gov/science


Source: Elizabeth Rosenthal, ORNL

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industry updates delivered to you every week!

MLCommons Launches New AI Safety Benchmark Initiative

April 16, 2024

MLCommons, organizer of the popular MLPerf benchmarking exercises (training and inference), is starting a new effort to benchmark AI Safety, one of the most pressing needs and hurdles to widespread AI adoption. The sudde Read more…

Quantinuum Reports 99.9% 2-Qubit Gate Fidelity, Caps Eventful 2 Months

April 16, 2024

March and April have been good months for Quantinuum, which today released a blog announcing the ion trap quantum computer specialist has achieved a 99.9% (three nines) two-qubit gate fidelity on its H1 system. The lates Read more…

Mystery Solved: Intel’s Former HPC Chief Now Running Software Engineering Group 

April 15, 2024

Last year, Jeff McVeigh, Intel's readily available leader of the high-performance computing group, suddenly went silent, with no interviews granted or appearances at press conferences.  It led to questions -- what's Read more…

Exciting Updates From Stanford HAI’s Seventh Annual AI Index Report

April 15, 2024

As the AI revolution marches on, it is vital to continually reassess how this technology is reshaping our world. To that end, researchers at Stanford’s Institute for Human-Centered AI (HAI) put out a yearly report to t Read more…

Crossing the Quantum Threshold: The Path to 10,000 Qubits

April 15, 2024

Editor’s Note: Why do qubit count and quality matter? What’s the difference between physical qubits and logical qubits? Quantum computer vendors toss these terms and numbers around as indicators of the strengths of t Read more…

Intel’s Vision Advantage: Chips Are Available Off-the-Shelf

April 11, 2024

The chip market is facing a crisis: chip development is now concentrated in the hands of the few. A confluence of events this week reminded us how few chips are available off the shelf, a concern raised at many recent Read more…

MLCommons Launches New AI Safety Benchmark Initiative

April 16, 2024

MLCommons, organizer of the popular MLPerf benchmarking exercises (training and inference), is starting a new effort to benchmark AI Safety, one of the most pre Read more…

Exciting Updates From Stanford HAI’s Seventh Annual AI Index Report

April 15, 2024

As the AI revolution marches on, it is vital to continually reassess how this technology is reshaping our world. To that end, researchers at Stanford’s Instit Read more…

Intel’s Vision Advantage: Chips Are Available Off-the-Shelf

April 11, 2024

The chip market is facing a crisis: chip development is now concentrated in the hands of the few. A confluence of events this week reminded us how few chips Read more…

The VC View: Quantonation’s Deep Dive into Funding Quantum Start-ups

April 11, 2024

Yesterday Quantonation — which promotes itself as a one-of-a-kind venture capital (VC) company specializing in quantum science and deep physics  — announce Read more…

Nvidia’s GTC Is the New Intel IDF

April 9, 2024

After many years, Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC) was back in person and has become the conference for those who care about semiconductors and AI. I Read more…

Google Announces Homegrown ARM-based CPUs 

April 9, 2024

Google sprang a surprise at the ongoing Google Next Cloud conference by introducing its own ARM-based CPU called Axion, which will be offered to customers in it Read more…

Computational Chemistry Needs To Be Sustainable, Too

April 8, 2024

A diverse group of computational chemists is encouraging the research community to embrace a sustainable software ecosystem. That's the message behind a recent Read more…

Hyperion Research: Eleven HPC Predictions for 2024

April 4, 2024

HPCwire is happy to announce a new series with Hyperion Research  - a fact-based market research firm focusing on the HPC market. In addition to providing mark Read more…

Nvidia H100: Are 550,000 GPUs Enough for This Year?

August 17, 2023

The GPU Squeeze continues to place a premium on Nvidia H100 GPUs. In a recent Financial Times article, Nvidia reports that it expects to ship 550,000 of its lat Read more…

Synopsys Eats Ansys: Does HPC Get Indigestion?

February 8, 2024

Recently, it was announced that Synopsys is buying HPC tool developer Ansys. Started in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1970 as Swanson Analysis Systems, Inc. (SASI) by John Swanson (and eventually renamed), Ansys serves the CAE (Computer Aided Engineering)/multiphysics engineering simulation market. Read more…

DoD Takes a Long View of Quantum Computing

December 19, 2023

Given the large sums tied to expensive weapon systems – think $100-million-plus per F-35 fighter – it’s easy to forget the U.S. Department of Defense is a Read more…

Intel’s Server and PC Chip Development Will Blur After 2025

January 15, 2024

Intel's dealing with much more than chip rivals breathing down its neck; it is simultaneously integrating a bevy of new technologies such as chiplets, artificia Read more…

Choosing the Right GPU for LLM Inference and Training

December 11, 2023

Accelerating the training and inference processes of deep learning models is crucial for unleashing their true potential and NVIDIA GPUs have emerged as a game- Read more…

Baidu Exits Quantum, Closely Following Alibaba’s Earlier Move

January 5, 2024

Reuters reported this week that Baidu, China’s giant e-commerce and services provider, is exiting the quantum computing development arena. Reuters reported � Read more…

Comparing NVIDIA A100 and NVIDIA L40S: Which GPU is Ideal for AI and Graphics-Intensive Workloads?

October 30, 2023

With long lead times for the NVIDIA H100 and A100 GPUs, many organizations are looking at the new NVIDIA L40S GPU, which it’s a new GPU optimized for AI and g Read more…

Shutterstock 1179408610

Google Addresses the Mysteries of Its Hypercomputer 

December 28, 2023

When Google launched its Hypercomputer earlier this month (December 2023), the first reaction was, "Say what?" It turns out that the Hypercomputer is Google's t Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

AMD MI3000A

How AMD May Get Across the CUDA Moat

October 5, 2023

When discussing GenAI, the term "GPU" almost always enters the conversation and the topic often moves toward performance and access. Interestingly, the word "GPU" is assumed to mean "Nvidia" products. (As an aside, the popular Nvidia hardware used in GenAI are not technically... Read more…

Shutterstock 1606064203

Meta’s Zuckerberg Puts Its AI Future in the Hands of 600,000 GPUs

January 25, 2024

In under two minutes, Meta's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, laid out the company's AI plans, which included a plan to build an artificial intelligence system with the eq Read more…

China Is All In on a RISC-V Future

January 8, 2024

The state of RISC-V in China was discussed in a recent report released by the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. The report, entitled "E Read more…

Shutterstock 1285747942

AMD’s Horsepower-packed MI300X GPU Beats Nvidia’s Upcoming H200

December 7, 2023

AMD and Nvidia are locked in an AI performance battle – much like the gaming GPU performance clash the companies have waged for decades. AMD has claimed it Read more…

Nvidia’s New Blackwell GPU Can Train AI Models with Trillions of Parameters

March 18, 2024

Nvidia's latest and fastest GPU, codenamed Blackwell, is here and will underpin the company's AI plans this year. The chip offers performance improvements from Read more…

Eyes on the Quantum Prize – D-Wave Says its Time is Now

January 30, 2024

Early quantum computing pioneer D-Wave again asserted – that at least for D-Wave – the commercial quantum era has begun. Speaking at its first in-person Ana Read more…

GenAI Having Major Impact on Data Culture, Survey Says

February 21, 2024

While 2023 was the year of GenAI, the adoption rates for GenAI did not match expectations. Most organizations are continuing to invest in GenAI but are yet to Read more…

Intel’s Xeon General Manager Talks about Server Chips 

January 2, 2024

Intel is talking data-center growth and is done digging graves for its dead enterprise products, including GPUs, storage, and networking products, which fell to Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire