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Title: A practical hardware implementation of systemic computation
Author: Sakellariou, C.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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It is widely accepted that natural computation, such as brain computation, is far superior to typical computational approaches addressing tasks such as learning and parallel processing. As conventional silicon-based technologies are about to reach their physical limits, researchers have drawn inspiration from nature to found new computational paradigms. Such a newly-conceived paradigm is Systemic Computation (SC). SC is a bio-inspired model of computation. It incorporates natural characteristics and defines a massively parallel non-von Neumann computer architecture that can model natural systems efficiently. This thesis investigates the viability and utility of a Systemic Computation hardware implementation, since prior software-based approaches have proved inadequate in terms of performance and flexibility. This is achieved by addressing three main research challenges regarding the level of support for the natural properties of SC, the design of its implied architecture and methods to make the implementation practical and efficient. Various hardware-based approaches to Natural Computation are reviewed and their compatibility and suitability, with respect to the SC paradigm, is investigated. FPGAs are identified as the most appropriate implementation platform through critical evaluation and the first prototype Hardware Architecture of Systemic computation (HAoS) is presented. HAoS is a novel custom digital design, which takes advantage of the inbuilt parallelism of an FPGA and the highly efficient matching capability of a Ternary Content Addressable Memory. It provides basic processing capabilities in order to minimize time-demanding data transfers, while the optional use of a CPU provides high-level processing support. It is optimized and extended to a practical hardware platform accompanied by a software framework to provide an efficient SC programming solution. The suggested platform is evaluated using three bio-inspired models and analysis shows that it satisfies the research challenges and provides an effective solution in terms of efficiency versus flexibility trade-off.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available