IBM Research unveils new chip architecture inspired by the human brain

IBM Research unveils new chip architecture inspired by the human brain

Summary: The long-term goal is to build a chip with 10 billion neurons and a hundred trillion synapses -- all while only consuming roughly a kilowatt of power and taking up less than two liters in volume.

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IBM Research has debuted what it is boasting to be a "breakthrough" new software ecosystem and programming model inspired by the human brain.

Introduced amid the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks in Dallas this week, the cognitive computing project is a new silicon chip architecture inspired by the power, function and "compact volume" of the brain.

Also following up the introduction of two prototype cognitive computing chips back in 2011, IBM reps asserted that the particular model being unveiled today breaks the mold of sequential operation underlying the traditional von Neumann architecture separating CPU and memory.

They stipulated that traditional software and programming languages (i.e. Java or C++) would also not work on this type of chip because the architecture, while complimentary to existing computing systems, is fundamentally different.

It is instead tailored for a new class of distributed, highly interconnected, asynchronous, parallel, large-scale cognitive computing architectures.

Still, at it's core, this project is about tackling one of the biggest items on the current and long-haul agenda at IBM: big data.

The long-term goal for Big Blue is to develop a chip platform with 10 billion neurons and a hundred trillion synapses -- all while only consuming roughly a kilowatt of power and taking up less than two liters in volume.

In a nutshell, the brain served as the inspiration for the groundwork to eventually support applications by using similar techniques and patterns in regards to human perception, action, and cognition.

IBM researchers offered the example of the human eyes, which they posited could sift more than a terabyte of data each day. A system mimicking the cortex could give way to low-power eyeglasses to aide visually impaired users.

Thus, by building a platform replicating the source of where most data is arguably generated, researchers suggested that "systems built from these chips could bring the real-time capture and analysis of various types of data closer to the point of collection."

Eventually, researchers are hoping to integrate this technology across everything from smartphones to cars for accumulating and analyzing sensory-based data.

Image via IBM Research

Topics: Hardware, Health, IBM, Processors, Enterprise 2.0

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6 comments
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  • Amazing

    This could pave the way for true artificial intelligence. Thank you Rachel for reporting on this.
    dogmai1
    • Accumulating and analyzing sensory-based data, is not the same as

      intelligence.

      What is called artificial intelligence, is still not capable of doing what an organic brain, tiny or large, can do.

      Can any computer walk down the street, and recognize a cute dog vs an ugly one, and can that computer recognize that, that dog might be a danger to s small child, and can that same computer, while doing all of that, also look up at the moon and wonder how it got there?

      The architecture IBM designed is just another computer, more advanced, but, intended to process data in a different way.
      adornoe
  • Developed at the Daystrom Institute...

    Didn't they call the patterns you put onto a brain computer Ngrams? Didn't that computer go insane because the Ngrams of it's creator were insane? Oh yeah, here it is, the M5 computer!

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708481/
    Tony Burzio
  • Remote wireless hack of the neural system

    Is it possible to remotely, wirelessly, hack the human neural system?
    http://cyberbrain.se/?page_id=6715
    http://cyberbrain.se/?page_id=519
    archangelmatrix
  • positronic brain

    I knew we would get them eventually !!!
    Aussie_Troll
    • Susan Cavin would be proud

      The state of the art in computing and software has been so stagnant for so long, I hope this makes a significant difference. I'm sure it will.
      Aussie_Troll