A team of researchers at IBM have unveiled a new generation of computer chips aimed at mimicking human thought. According to the technology giant, these cognitive computer chips are designed “to emulate the brain’s abilities for perception, action and cognition.”
IBM hopes that this new technology will be able to make predictions, learn from experiences, find patterns and generate ideas. IBM believes this is possible by recreating the phenomena between spiking neurons and synapses in biological systems through advanced algorithms and silicon circuitry.
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By combining principles from nanoscience, neuroscience and supercomputing, IBM believes that these compact cognitive chips will be able to perform brain like functions with low power usage.
“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. “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.”
The six-year long project received $41 million in funding from the government's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) who will also invest $21 million for Phase 2 of the Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) project.