Optimizing CoreNEURON: Intel vs. ARM

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Optimizing CoreNEURON: Intel vs. ARM

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Environment and Methodology
    • H2: Hardware Setup
    • H2: Software Setup
  3. Evaluation
    • H2: Performance Analysis
      • H3: Instruction Mix Analysis
      • H3: Branch Prediction Analysis
    • H2: Energy Efficiency
      • H3: Power Consumption Comparison
      • H3: Impact of Compiler and ISPC
  4. Conclusions and Future Work
    • H2: Key Findings
    • H2: Areas for Further Research


🔍 Exploring Core Neuron's Performance and Energy Efficiency on Intel and ARM Architectures

Understanding the functionality of the human brain is paramount in neuroscience. This Quest for comprehension has spurred the development of larger and more complex models. Core Neuron, a neural simulator, stands at the forefront of this endeavor. In this article, we delve into our research conducted at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, focusing on the performance and energy efficiency evaluation of Core Neuron on both Intel and ARM architectures.

Environment and Methodology

Hardware Setup

To conduct our study, we utilized two distinct clusters: ThunderX2 CPUs for the ARM architecture and Skylake CPUs for the Intel architecture. These clusters provided the necessary infrastructure for our performance and energy efficiency evaluations.

Software Setup

Our software setup involved employing Core Neuron, a simulator designed for detailed neural models. Additionally, we leveraged various compilers, including GCC and vendor-specific compilers, along with the Intel SPMD Program Compiler (ISPC) for vectorization optimization.


Performance Analysis

Instruction Mix Analysis

A critical aspect of our evaluation was analyzing the instruction mix of Core Neuron. By scrutinizing the types of instructions executed, we gained insights into the program's behavior on different architectures and compiler configurations.

Branch Prediction Analysis

Branch prediction played a crucial role in determining program execution efficiency. Our study investigated the effectiveness of branch prediction mechanisms across various compiler settings and hardware architectures.

Energy Efficiency

Power Consumption Comparison

Efficient energy utilization is imperative in high-performance computing. We compared power consumption across different compiler configurations and hardware architectures to assess energy efficiency.

Impact of Compiler and ISPC

The choice of compiler and utilization of ISPC significantly influenced energy consumption. Our analysis delved into the effects of these factors on overall energy efficiency, providing valuable insights for optimization strategies.

Conclusions and Future Work

Key Findings

Our research unveiled nuanced insights into Core Neuron's performance and energy efficiency. Key findings include the impact of vectorization optimization, compiler choice, and hardware architecture on program execution and energy consumption.

Areas for Further Research

As we conclude this study, several avenues for future research emerge. These include analyzing memory usage Patterns, exploring realistic input scenarios, and evaluating emerging CPU architectures for neuroscientific simulations.


  • Detailed evaluation of Core Neuron's performance and energy efficiency on Intel and ARM architectures.
  • Insightful analysis of instruction mix and branch prediction behavior across different compiler configurations.
  • Comparison of power consumption patterns under varied compiler settings and hardware architectures.
  • Implications of vectorization optimization and compiler choice on energy efficiency and program performance.
  • Future research directions encompass memory usage analysis, realistic input Scenario exploration, and evaluation of emerging CPU architectures for neuroscientific simulations.


Q: How was energy consumption measured in the study?

A: Energy consumption was measured using BMC sensors integrated into the computing clusters. These sensors provided accurate power consumption data for analysis.

Q: What were the main factors influencing program performance on different architectures?

A: Program performance was primarily influenced by the choice of compiler, utilization of vectorization optimization, and hardware architecture. These factors interacted to impact instruction execution and energy efficiency.

Q: Are there plans to extend the study to other CPU architectures?

A: Yes, future research endeavors aim to evaluate Core Neuron's performance on emerging CPU architectures, including the exploration of parallax execution models on ARM-based platforms.

Q: How did the study address memory usage considerations?

A: While the current study focused on performance and energy efficiency, future research will delve into memory usage patterns to gain a comprehensive understanding of Core Neuron's resource utilization dynamics.

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