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IBM unveils chips that mimic the human brain

In Tech on August 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm

By Stuart Sumner

IBM has unveiled a new experimental computer chip that it says mimics the human brain in that it perceives, acts and even thinks.

It terms the machines built with these chips “cognitive computers”, claiming that they are able to learn through experience, find patterns, generate ideas and understand the outcomes.

In building this new generation of chip, IBM combined principles of nanoscience, neuroscience and supercomputing.

It has been awarded $21m (£12.7m) of new funding by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the next phase of the project, which it terms “Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics” (SyNAPSE).

“This is a major initiative to move beyond the von Neumann paradigm that has been ruling computer architecture for more than half a century,” said Dharmendra Modha, project leader for IBM Research.

Modha added that the chip may see applications in business, science and government.

“Future applications of computing will increasingly demand functionality that is not efficiently delivered by the traditional architecture.

“These chips are another significant step in the evolution of computers from calculators to learning systems, signalling the beginning of a new generation of computers and their applications in business, science and government.”

IBM states that the chips, while certainly not biological, are inspired by the architecture of the human brain in their design. Digital silicon…

Full article…

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