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New Microchip Inspired by the Brain

For six years IBM has been attempting to engineer a microchip that is inspired by the brain. Named TrueNorth, it has “one million individually programmable neurons–sixteen times more than the current largest neuromorphic chip.” It also contains 256 million programmable synapses. The architecture breaks from the von-Neumann structure of today’s computers. That traditional structure is good for logic tasks, similar to the left side of the brain, while TrueNorth processes sensory data and recognizes patterns, similar to the right side of the brain. The goal is to combine the capabilities of both sides into one processor.

The architecture can solve a wide class of problems from vision, audition, and multi-sensory fusion, and has the potential to revolutionize the computer industry by integrating brain-like capability into devices where computation is constrained by power and speed.

All of this and it only uses about 70 milliwatts of power for its 5.4 billion transistors. Other processors with 1.4 billion transistors use about 140 watts. Learn more on IBM’s blog: Introducing a Brain-inspired Computer.

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