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Loihi - Intel
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General Info
MarketArtificial Intelligence
IntroductionSeptember 25, 2017 (announced)
January, 2018 (launched)
Process14 nm
Die60 mm²
Vcore0.50 V-1.25 V

Loihi (pronounced low-ee-hee) is a neuromorphic research test chip designed by Intel Labs that uses a asynchronous spiking neural network (SNN) to implement adaptive self-modifying event-driven fine-grained parallel computations used to implement learning and inference with high efficiency. The chip is a 128-neuromorphic cores many-core IC fabricated on Intel's 14 nm process.

The chip is named after the Loihi as a play-on-words - Loihi is an emerging Hawaiian submarine volcano that is set to surface one day.


Announced in September 2017, Loihi is predominantly a research chip meaning performance characteristics are not guaranteed. Loihi consists of a asynchronous spiking neural network (SNN) meaning instead of manipulating signals, the chip sends spikes along activate synapses. Connections are asynchronous and highly timed based. Neuromorphic cores containing many neurons are interlinked and receive spikes from elsewhere in the network. When received spikes accumulate for a certain period of time and reach a set threshold, the core will fire off its own spikes to its connected neurons. Preceding spikes reinforce each other and the neuron connections while spikes that follows will inhibit the connection, declining the connectivity until all activities are halted.


intel loihi many-core neural mesh.png

The chip itself implements of a fully asynchronous many-core mesh of 128 neuromorphic cores. The network supports a wide variety of artificial neural network such as RNNs, SNN, sparse, hierarchical, and various other topologies where each neuron in the chip is capable of communicating with 1000s of other neurons.

There are 128 neuromorphic cores, each containing a "learning engine" that can be programmed to adopt to the network parameters during operation such as the spike timings and their impact. This makes the chip more flexible as it allows various paradigms such as supervisor/non-supervisor and reinforcing/reconfigurablity without requiring any particular approach. The choice for higher flexibility is intentional in order to defer various architectural decisions that could be detrimental to research.

loihi spikes.gif

The chip was initially tested and simulated using FPGAs. Actual silicon implementations arrived in late November. Loihi is fabricated on Intel's 14 nm process and has a total of 130,000 artificial neurons and 130 million synapses. In addition to the 128 neuromorphic cores, there are 3 managing Lakemont cores.


  • 14 nm process
  • 2,070,000,000 transistors
    • 128 neuromorphic cores + 3 x86 cores
  • 60 mm² die size
intel loihi die shot.png


  • Jim Held, Intel Fellow & Director Emerging Technologies Research, Intel Labs, HPC Developer Conference 2017 ("Leading The Evolution of Compute: Neuromorphic and Quantum Computing").

See also

Facts about "Loihi - Intel"
core voltage (max)1.25 V (12.5 dV, 125 cV, 1,250 mV) +
core voltage (min)0.5 V (5 dV, 50 cV, 500 mV) +
designerIntel +
die area60 mm² (0.093 in², 0.6 cm², 60,000,000 µm²) +
first announcedSeptember 25, 2017 +
first launchedJanuary 2018 +
full page nameintel/loihi +
instance ofneuromorphic chip +
ldateJanuary 2018 +
manufacturerIntel +
market segmentArtificial Intelligence +
nameLoihi +
process14 nm (0.014 μm, 1.4e-5 mm) +
technologyCMOS +
transistor count2,070,000,000 +