First two prototype chips have already been fabricated and are currently undergoing testing
IBM researchers have unveiled a new generation of experimental computer chips, which the company claims are designed to emulate the brain’s abilities for perception, action and cognition.
Unlike the traditional chips, the new cognitive computing chips recreate the phenomena between spiking neurons and synapses in biological systems, such as the brain, through advanced algorithms and silicon circuitry.
The researchers said that system built with the new chips are expected to learn through experiences, find correlations, create hypotheses, and remember – and learn from – the outcomes, mimicking the brains structural and synaptic plasticity.
Digital silicon circuits inspired by neurobiology are used by the new chips to make up a "neurosynaptic core" with integrated memory (replicated synapses), computation (replicated neurons) and communication (replicated axons), IBM said.
IBM Research project leader Dharmendra Modha said 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 said its first two neurosynaptic computing chips have already been fabricated and are currently undergoing testing.
Both light-weight cores were fabricated in 45 nm SOI-CMOS and contain 256 neurons, with one core containing 262,144 programmable synapses and the other 65,536 learning synapses.
The company claims that the new chip architecture is more power-efficient and has no set programming, integrates memory with processor, and mimics the brain’s event-driven, distributed and parallel processing.
Built at IBM’s chip-making facility in Fishkill, New York, the new chips are currently being tested at its research labs in Yorktown Heights, New York and San Jose, California.