Engineers begin ‘brain-inspired computing’ project for 6G

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A project looking how brain-inspired, or neuromorphic computing, can transfer information over networks has been pitched as the basis for the emergence of new 6G services.

Engineers from King’s College London and Princeton in the US will lead a project which seeks inspiration from the human brain for quicker and more efficient computing and networking, which amongst other things is hoped will allow for better integration of AI into wireless communications.

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the US, the project supposedly has the potential to revolutionise mobile healthcare, telecommunications and robotics.

Neuromorphic technology, we are told in a release from King’s College, can learn and adapt in real-time and is more energy efficient, and apparently this could lead to all sorts of new services and telecoms stuff. Intel Labs, Nvidia, and AccelerComm have been drafted in in order to ‘explore the fundamental principles, algorithms and hardware co-design of neuromorphic communications.’

“The global 5G rollout marks a shift in telecom systems, which are transforming in order to cater to the transmission of intelligence between machines,” said Professor Osvaldo Simeone from King’s College. “Conventional communications systems are designed to serve as generic bit pipes, transmitting and storing information in bits. This makes it impossible for existing telecommunication networks to adapt to new situations and to tailor their resource consumption to the semantics of the information being exchanged between end points.”

Dr Bipin Rajendran from the Department of Engineering at Kings College added: “Neuromorphic systems are designed to emulate the behaviour of neural networks in the brain. Using Spiking Neural Networks (SNNs), a type of neural network model, neuromorphic technology transmits information through the occurrence of spikes. Neurons in SNNs gather signals over time and send out a spike when a certain threshold is reached. This way, SNNs allow for event-driven and efficient computations, as information is processed only when needed.”

The use of the term 6G may be a bit loose here since it hasn’t really been defined yet by the industry, but perhaps it can be taken as a by-word for ‘future telecoms tech’ at this point.

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