Intel has just revealed its second-generation brain-like computer chip: Loihi 2. This processor is more man than your usual machine, incorporating faux neurons made out of silicon—up to 1 million of them. That’s nearly ten times as many as the first generation Loihi chip, and that’s partially underwritten by the use of a cutting-edge and never-before shipped process node: Intel 4.
Loihi 2 is a neuromorphic computing research chip, and that means it’s intended to help develop further chips that behave more like a biological brain than a digital chip. This should lead to a better understanding of our complex brains and also create chips with high energy efficiency and speed in certain tasks. such as machine learning.
Loihi 2, Intel says, is already a massive improvement on the first-generation Loihi chip, which was released in 2017.
“Loihi 2 and Lava harvest insights from several years of collaborative research using Loihi,” Mike Davies, director of Intel’s Neuromorphic Computing Lab, says. “Our second-generation chip greatly improves the speed, programmability, and capacity of neuromorphic processing, broadening its usages in power and latency constrained intelligent computing applications. We are open sourcing Lava to address the need for software convergence, benchmarking, and cross-platform collaboration in the field, and to accelerate our progress toward commercial viability.”
Intel’s also releasing a new Lava software framework, as mentioned above, to offer a common foundation for researchers to build faster, more efficient models.
Loihi 2 also offers up our first glimpse of things to come for Intel’s gaming CPUs. Loihi 2 is built with a “pre-production version” of the Intel 4 process node—that’s what used to be known as 7nm, before Intel decided to rename its entire manufacturing roadmap.