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CLASSIC: A cortex-inspired hardware accelerator

Abstract: This work explores the feasibility of specialized hardware implementing the Cortical Learning Algorithm (CLA) in order to fully exploit its inherent advantages. This algorithm, which is inspired by the current understanding of the mammalian neo-cortex, is the basis of the Hierarchical Temporal Memory (HTM). In contrast to other machine learning (ML) approaches, the structure is not application dependent and relies on fully unsupervised continuous learning. We hypothesize that a hardware implementation will be able not only to extend the existing practical uses of these ideas to broader scenarios but also to exploit CLA?s hardware-friendly characteristics. The architecture proposed will enable the system size to be scaled up compared to a state-of-the-art CLA software implementation. It may be possible to improve performance by 4 orders of magnitude and energy efficiency by up to 8 orders of magnitude. Given the problem?s complex nature, we found that the most demanding issue, from a scalability standpoint, is the massive degree of connectivity required. We propose to use a packet-switched network to tackle this. The paper addresses the fundamental issues of such an approach, proposing solutions to achieve a scalable proposal. We will analyze cost and performance when using well-known architectural techniques and tools. The results obtained suggest that even with CMOS technology, under constrained cost, it might be possible to implement a large-scale system. We found that the proposed solutions enable a saving of 90% of the original communication costs running either synthetic or realistic workloads.

 Fuente: Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing, Volume 134, December 2019, Pages 140-152

 Publisher: Elsevier

 Year of publication: 2019

 Publication type: Article

 ISSN: 0743-7315,1096-0848

 Spanish project: TIN2016- 80512-R

 Publication Url: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpdc.2019.08.009