IBM's AI helping the National Nuclear Security Administration

The National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) is getting help with cybersecurity from an AI supercomputer platform.

The supercomputer platform, called IBM Neuromorphic System, developed by IBM Research, has been purchased by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) for that purpose.

The platform itself is quite interesting: it’s very powerful, yet extremely power-saving. According to IBM’s press release, it will “process the equivalent of 16 million neurons and 4 billion synapses and consume the energy equivalent of a tablet computer – a mere 2.5 watts of power for the 16 TrueNorth chips.”

“Neuromorphic computing opens very exciting new possibilities and is consistent with what we see as the future of the high performance computing and simulation at the heart of our national security missions,” said Jim Brase, LLNL deputy associate director for Data Science. “The potential capabilities neuromorphic computing represents and the machine intelligence that these will enable will change how we do science.”

IBM has a lot of praise for this machine, saying it’s a significant step away from traditional computers, and mimics human brains which also “require significantly less electrical power and volume.”

“The low power consumption of these brain-inspired processors reflects the industry’s desire and a creative approach to reducing power consumption in all components for future systems as we set our sights on exascale computing,” said Michel McCoy, LLNL program director for Weapon Simulation and Computing.

One TrueNorth processor has 5.4 billion transistors, creating 1 million digital neuros that communicate via 256 million electrical synapses. It consumes 70 miliwatts of power and can deliver 46 giga synaptic operations per second.