cyber daily logo

Breaking news and updates daily. Subscribe to our Newsletter

Breaking news and updates daily. Subscribe to our Newsletter X facebook linkedin Instagram Instagram

World-first supercomputer capable of brain-level simulation announced by Western Sydney University

Researchers from the University of Western Sydney (UWS) have announced the development of a world-first supercomputer with the ability to simulate networks as large as the human brain.

user icon Daniel Croft
Thu, 14 Dec 2023
World-first supercomputer capable of brain-level simulation announced by Western Sydney University
expand image

The supercomputer, named DeepSouth as a nod to IMB’s neuromorphic integrated circuit, is being developed by UWS’ International Centre for Neuromorphic Systems (ICNS).

DeepSouth differs from other supercomputers, which are typically designed to operate traditional computing loads. According to the director of the ICNS, Professor André van Schaik, the new supercomputer has been built to specifically operate like large networks of firing neurons, which is more efficient and less power demanding.

“Progress in our understanding of how brains compute using neurons is hampered by our inability to simulate brain-like networks at scale,” Professor van Schaik said.


“Simulating spiking neural networks on standard computers using graphics processing units (GPUs) and multicore central processing units (CPUs) is just too slow and power-intensive. Our system will change that.”

DeepSouth is built on a neuromorphic system that uses hardware to parrot biological processes. As a result, the computer is able to efficiently emulate large networks spiking neurons with a rate of synaptic operations that rivals the human brain – 28 trillion synaptic operations per second.

“This platform will progress our understanding of the brain and develop brain-scale computing applications in diverse fields, including sensing, biomedical, robotics, space, and large-scale AI applications,” Professor van Schaik said.

DeepSouth’s ability to simulate human brain activity presents a number of key benefits, according to a release by UWS.

For starters, the new supercomputer is super efficient, capable of processing massive amounts of data while using little power.

“Our brains are able to process the equivalent of an exaflop – a billion-billion (1 followed by 18 zeros) mathematical operations per second – with just 20 watts of power,” said UWS.

“Using neuromorphic engineering that simulates the way our brain works, DeepSouth can process massive amounts of data quickly, using much less power, while being much smaller than other supercomputers.”

The technology is also reconfigurable through the leveraging of field programmable gate arrays and uses commercially available hardware, which ensures it continues to improve, a key issue found with previous neuromorphic computing systems that use custom and purpose-built hardware.

Finally, the computers’ ability to simulate human brain-scale processing makes it ideal for exploring the future applications of artificial intelligence, as well as developing more efficient ways of processing the technology.

DeepSouth will be based at Western Sydney University, having been developed by the ICNS team in collaboration with neuromorphic researchers from Sydney University, the University of Melbourne, and the University of Aachen, Germany.

Researchers aim to have DeepSouth operational by April 2024.

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft

Born in the heart of Western Sydney, Daniel Croft is a passionate journalist with an understanding for and experience writing in the technology space. Having studied at Macquarie University, he joined Momentum Media in 2022, writing across a number of publications including Australian Aviation, Cyber Security Connect and Defence Connect. Outside of writing, Daniel has a keen interest in music, and spends his time playing in bands around Sydney.

cd intro podcast

Introducing Cyber Daily, the new name for Cyber Security Connect

Click here to learn all about it
cyber daily subscribe
Be the first to hear the latest developments in the cyber industry.