A Low-Latency Communication Design for Brain Simulations

Xin Du, Yuhao Liu, Zhihui Lu, Qiang Duan, Jianfeng Feng, Jie Wu, Boyu Chen, Qibao Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Brain simulation, as one of the latest advances in artificial intelligence, facilitates better understanding about how information is represented and processed in the brain. The extreme complexity of the human brain makes brain simulations only feasible on high-performance computing platforms. Supercomputers with a large number of interconnected graphical processing units (GPUs) are currently employed for supporting brain simulations. Therefore, high-throughput low-latency inter-GPU communications in super-computers play a crucial role in meeting the performance requirements of brain simulation as a highly time-sensitive application. In this article, we first provide an overview of the current parallelizing technologies for brain simulations using multi-GPU architectures. Then we analyze the challenges to communications for brain simulation and summarize guidelines for communication design to address such challenges. Furthermore, we propose a partitioning algorithm and a two-level routing method to achieve efficient low-latency communications in multi-GPU architecture for brain simulation. We report experiment results obtained on a supercomputer with 2000 GPUs for simulating a brain model with 10 billion neurons (digital twin brain, DTB) to show that our approach can significantly improve communication performance. We also discuss open issues and identify some research directions for low-latency communication design for brain simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-15
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Network
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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