IBM creates new SyNAPSE chip to further cognitive computing

Summary:Big Blue says the neurosynaptic computer chip will open new computing possibilities for cloud, mobile and distributed sensor applications.


IBM unveiled Thursday a neurosynaptic computer chip that it says will open new computing possibilities for cloud, mobile and distributed sensor applications.

Built with non-von Neumann computer architecture, IBM said the postage stamp-sized chip achieves an unprecedented scale of one million programmable neurons, 256 million programmable synapses and 46 billion synaptic operations per second, per watt.

At 5.4 billion transistors, IBM said the chip is currently one of the largest CMOS chips ever built, while also managing to consume only 70mW of power by running at biological real time.

Building on previously demonstrated neurosynaptic cores with on-chip, online learning, IBM said it envisions building learning systems that adapt in real-world settings, as the underlying architecture could at some point exploit advances in future memory, 3D integration, logic and sensor technologies.

Dr. Dharmendra S. Modha, IBM fellow and chief scientist for brain-inspired computing at IBM Research, said in a statement:

We foresee new generations of information technology systems – that complement today’s von Neumann machines – powered by an evolving ecosystem of systems, software, and services. These brain-inspired chips could transform mobility, via sensory and intelligent applications that can fit in the palm of your hand but without the need for wifi. This achievement underscores IBM's leadership role at pivotal transformational moments in the history of computing via long-term investment in organic innovation.


Topics: Innovation, IBM


Natalie Gagliordi is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in Louisville, Kentucky, covering business technology for ZDNet. She previously worked as the editor of Kiosk Marketplace, an online B2B trade publication that focused on interactive self-service technology, while also contributing to additional websites that covered retail tec... Full Bio

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