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Open Access

Towards "General Purpose" Brain-Inspired Computing System

Department of Computer Science and Technology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
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Brain-inspired computing refers to computational models, methods, and systems, that are mainly inspired by the processing mode or structure of brain. A recent study proposed the concept of "neuromorphic completeness" and the corresponding system hierarchy, which is helpful to determine the capability boundary of brain-inspired computing system and to judge whether hardware and software of brain-inspired computing are compatible with each other. As a position paper, this article analyzes the existing brain-inspired chips’€™ design characteristics and the current so-called "general purpose" application development frameworks for brain-inspired computing, as well as introduces the background and the potential of this proposal. Further, some key features of this concept are presented through the comparison with the Turing completeness and approximate computation, and the analyses of the relationship with "general-purpose" brain-inspired computing systems (it means that computing systems can support all computable applications). In the end, a promising technical approach to realize such computing systems is introduced, as well as the on-going research and the work foundation. We believe that this work is conducive to the design of extensible neuromorphic complete hardware-primitives and the corresponding chips. On this basis, it is expected to gradually realize "general purpose" brain-inspired computing system, in order to take into account the functionality completeness and application efficiency.


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Tsinghua Science and Technology
Pages 664-673
Cite this article:
Zhang Y, Qu P, Zheng W. Towards "General Purpose" Brain-Inspired Computing System. Tsinghua Science and Technology, 2021, 26(5): 664-673.








Web of Science






Received: 18 January 2021
Accepted: 04 February 2021
Published: 20 April 2021
© The author(s) 2021

© The author(s) 2021. The articles published in this open access journal are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (