Processor Chip that thinks like a Human Brain

Its not very often with Science that we create a technology equivalent of what humans are capable of doing. Brain has especially been the most mysterious and hardest to mimic part of the humans.

Although with AI (Artificial Intelligence), computers can learn, they are not smart enough to make independent decisions, they don’t think beyond what they are told and even this artifical thinking can be slow at times when its a cpu intensive operation. For instance, Face recognition is something human brain can do much faster than a household computer, but, when compared to mathematical operations, computers beat humans collectively. Its a challenge when we try training a computer to behave like a human brain.

Researchers at IBM have made a key step towards Cognitive computing, a methodology that let computer think like humans. IBM has built two chips that process data more like how humans. Its a new CPU architecture, that surpasses the current Intels and AMD (von Neumann architecture).

These chips, like human brain, are extremely efficient, to prove the point, these chips run at 10Hz and still beat most modern computers. 10Hz is roughly the same as the frequency of human brain.

The chips represent a significant milestone in a six-year-long project that has involved 100 researchers and some $41 million in funding from the government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. IBM has also committed an undisclosed amount of money.

No Neurons or Bio-parts inside, yet
These are no biological chips but silicon chips inspired by human brain. They work as a human brain would. As IBM calls it, they are “neurobiology to make up what is referred to as a ‘neurosynaptic core’ with integrated memory (replicated synapses), computation (replicated neurons), and communication (replicated axons)”.

IBM demoed steering a simulated car through a maze, playing Pong using these chips. The chips’ ability to adapt to types of information that it wasn’t specifically programmed to expect is a key feature.

Dharmendra Modha, project leader for IBM Research, said the new chips have parts that behave like digital “neurons” and “synapses” that make them different than other chips. Each “core,” or processing engine, has computing, communication and memory functions.

“You have to throw out virtually everything we know about how these chips are designed. The key, key, key difference really is the memory and the processor are very closely brought together. There’s a massive, massive amount of parallelism.”

The project is part of the same research that led to IBM‘s announcement in 2009 that it had simulated a cat’s cerebral cortex, the thinking part of the brain, using a massive supercomputer. Using progressively bigger supercomputers, IBM had previously simulated 40 percent of a mouse’s brain in 2006, a rat’s full brain in 2007, and 1 percent of a human’s cerebral cortex in 2009. A computer with the power of the human brain is not yet near.

Also Read: Simulate Human Brain

We are still a decade away from a computer that would beat human brain, its just a good start that we see now, first step is taken.

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