Understanding the interconnection network of SpiNNaker

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SpiNNaker is a massively parallel architecture designed to model large-scale spiking neural networks in (biological) real-time. Its design is based around ad-hoc multi-core System-on-Chips which are interconnected using a two-dimensional toroidal triangular mesh. Neurons are modeled in software and their spikes generate packets that propagate through the on- and inter-chip communication fabric relying on custom-made on-chip multicast routers. This paper models and evaluates large-scale instances of its novel interconnect (more than 65 thousand nodes, or over one million computing cores), focusing on real-time features and fault-tolerance. The key contribution can be summarized as understanding the properties of the feasible topologies and establishing the stable operation of the SpiNNaker under different levels of degradation. First we derive analytically the topological characteristics of the network, which are later confirmed by experimental work. With the computational model developed, we investigate the topology of SpiNNaker, and compare it with a standard 3-dimensional torus. The novel emergency routing mechanism, implemented within the routers, allows the topology of SpiNNaker to be more robust than the 3-dimensional torus, regardless of the latter having better topological characteristics. Furthermore, we obtain optimal values of two router parameters related with livelock and deadlock avoidance mechanisms. Copyright 2009 ACM.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Conference on Supercomputing|Proc Int Conf Supercomputing
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781605584980
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Event23rd International Conference on Supercomputing, ICS'09 - Yorktown Heights, NY
Event duration: 1 Jul 2009 → …


Conference23rd International Conference on Supercomputing, ICS'09
CityYorktown Heights, NY
Period1/07/09 → …
Internet address