1 » Symbiotic Idemetric Processing4 » Benefits of SATAnet connectivity
2 » Benefits of hardware implemention5 » Preliminary System Specification
3 » Benefits of Symbiotic processing
Symbiotic Idemetric Processing

The Cortica architecture was designed to fit a client’s needs. It brings together three Intesym technologies: a massively-parallel Symbiotic processing architecture (Polymer) optimised for reconfigurable idemetric processing, interfacing to conventional computers via a SATAnet derivative interface to provide an on-line “Intelligent Storage” database device.

Idemetric Processing homepage

Cortica can be used for all of the functions to which Intesym idemetric processing is suited, such as image similarity, object recognition, and scene understanding.


Benefits of hardware implemention

Most image processing systems are implemented in software on workstations and servers. In many situations this is acceptable, but there are various situations where a custom hardware approach is preferable. For example:


  • Hardware is more difficult to reverse-engineer.
  • Hardware is more difficult to copy.
  • Hardware is less susceptible to functional modification by tampering and hacking.

Efficiency & Reliability

  • Custom hardware generally has lower power consumption for similar computational performance.
  • Lower power allows passive cooling.
  • Avoidance of moving parts such as fans improves system reliability.
  • No inclusion of unused components and devices; less to go wrong.

Performance & Flexibility

  • Hardware implementations of specialist functions are often considerably quicker than software versions even when there is an order of magnitude difference in clock rates.
  • If a useful feature is slow in software, it can be implemented in hardware.
  • Relatively quick and easy to adapt the hardware to suit new functions, even compared to many general processing software environments.
Benefits of Symbiotic processing

As Cortica is a reconfigurable processor, there needs to be an element of programmability. Overall functionality is provided by software on a collection of Polymer Symbiotic processors. Custom circuitry is provided to accelerate important functions. For this kind of work, Symbiotic processing has numerous advantages over conventional CPU architectures:

  • Neural and receptive field networks expressed directly, not simulated.
  • Automatic propagation of data changes through networks without software coordination.
  • Very efficient large-scale parallelism.

Polymer homepage

Benefits of SATAnet connectivity

Cortica appears as a hard disc to a host computer, and so access to it is simple through any operating system’s ordinary device drivers and filing-system calls. It can be installed internally in an enclosure’s standard 3.5"/5.25" drive bay or connected externally via eSATA.

System Specification

Cortica supports the processing of large full-colour (24-bit RGB) images and searching through large databases very quickly. The following table lists the preliminary specification for a typical Cortica-based image similarity database server.

Query image size 1024 × 1024 pixels
Database size 1 000 000 images
Query throughput 25 images/sec.
Query latency 2.0 seconds
Power supply 9 ~ 24 volts D.C.
Power consumption 30 watts (max.)
Dimensions 145 × 100 × 25 mm (external)

† For full-colour megapixel query images and a full database of one million full-colour megapixel images, returning similarity statistics against every database image for every query. Higher throughputs and lower latencies will occur for smaller images and/or smaller databases, or if only a subset of results (e.g. the best matches) is required.

Technology in brief

A parallel computing architecture, scalable from embedded systems to supercomputers, efficiently handling fine-grain concurrency levels of hundreds of thousands.

Variants include 16- to 64-bit general purpose systems, transmuteable instructions, and arbitrary precision arithmetic.

Technology reports

Symbiotics homepage

A case for a new architecture






Related technology

Idemetric Processing homepage

SATAnet homepage

See also

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