Advanced Processor Technologies

The Advanced Processor Technologies group researches advanced and novel approaches to processing and computation. The group is based in the School of Computer Science at the University of Manchester where research into computer technology began more than 50 years ago with the construction of the world's first stored-program computer.

Today the emphasis of the research is on identifying novel ways to exploit the formidable complexity of the billion transistor microchips that semiconductor technology will make commonplace over the next decade.

We welcome approaches from potential postgraduate students who are interested in studying for an MPhil or PhD with the group and we are keen to identify companies and other academic groups who are interested in collaborating with us in our research programmes.



SpiNNaker is a massively parallel, low power, neuromorphic supercomputer currently being built at The University of Manchester. It is designed to model very large, biologically realistic, spiking neural networks in real time. The machine will consist of 65,536 identical 18-core processors, giving it 1,179,648 cores in total. Each processor has an on-board router to form links with its neighbours, as well as its own 128 MB of memory to hold synaptic weights. Each core is an ARM968 manufactured using a 130 nm process.

The machine is built to mimic the brain's biological structure and behaviour. It will exhibit massive parallelism and resilience to failure of individual components. With over one million cores, and one thousand simulated neurons per core, the machine will be capable of simulating one billion neurons. This equates to just over 1% of the human brain's 85 billion neurons. read more...

Professor Steve Furber

Staff Profile

Prof Steve Furber 

Steve is an ICL Professor of Computer Engineering, and is probably best known for his work at Acorn Computers, where he was one of the designers of the BBC Micro and the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor. His research interests are in asynchronous logic design and power-efficient computing, including biologically-inspired novel computation. In 2012, Steve chaired the Royal Society study into Computing in Schools, which resulted in the report Shut down or restart?.

Awards: Steve Furber is a Fellow and Trustee of the BCS, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the IEEE (2005) and the IET, and a Chartered Engineer. In September 2007, he was awarded the prestigious IET Faraday Medal and gave the IET Pinkerton Lecture in 2010. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours, became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2009 and was elected as one of the three laureates of Millennium Technology Prize in 2010, for development of ARM processor. He was awarded the Fellow Award by the Computer History Museum in California in 2012 and was a recipient of a 2013 IEEE Computer Society Computer Pioneer Award. He received, with Sophie Wilson, the 2013 Economist Innovation Award for Computing and Telecommunications for co-creating the ARM processor that powers most of the world’s mobile phones.


  • Professor Steve Furber's page.
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