Friday, August 19, 2011

IBM unveils a chip that mimic human brains!

IBM Research has unveiled a prototype of a computing chip that can mimics human brains. Computers with processors that mimic the human brain's cognition, perception, and action abilities are a lot closer than they've ever been after IBM on Wednesday unveiled the first generation of chips that will power them. This experiment is a part of the cognitive computing initiative.

In correlation to its multi-year cognitive computing initiative, IBM is implementing the guiding principles of nanoscience, neuroscience and supercomputing. According to an IBM press release, researchers have created the first neurosynaptic computing chips that recreate the phenomena between spiking neurons and synapses in biological systems (brain) by utilizing advanced algorithm and silicon circuitry.

However, this cognitive chips do not contain any biological elements. The two chips – identified as core – are undergoing a series of tests. Since the chips were fabricated, they have successfully demonstrated associative memory, classification, machine vision, navigation and pattern recognition applications. They are also expected to create hypotheses, remember and learn from situations, learn through experiences and find correlations.

The chips contain 256 digital neurons that run at 10MHz that spread information to each other. One core encloses 262,144 programmable synapses, while the other holds 65,536 learning synapses. “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 by IBM project leader, Dharmendra Modha. “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, signaling the beginning of a new generation of computers and their applications in business, science and government.”

IBM and university partners have been awarded $21 million in new funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for Phase 2 of the Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) project – Phases 0 and 1 have been successfully completed. One of the goals of cognitive computers is to make the machines more power-efficient and combine memory with processor.

“Imagine traffic lights that can integrate sights, sounds and smells and flag unsafe intersections before disaster happens or imagine cognitive co-processors that turn servers, laptops, tablets, and phones into machines that can interact better with their environments,” added the IBM project leader.

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