News You Really Need To See: “A New Chip Functions Like a Brain, IBM Says”

“A New Chip Functions Like a Brain, IBM Says”

The New York Times, August 8, 2014, p.B1

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/08/science/new-computer-chip-is-designed-to-work-like-the-brain.html

Inspired by the architecture of the brain, scientists have developed a new kind of computer chip that uses no more power than a hearing aid and may eventually excel at calculations that stump today’s supercomputers.  The chip, or processor, is named TrueNorth and was developed by researchers at IBM and detailed in an article published on Thursday in the journal Science.  It tries to mimic the way brains recognize patterns, relying on densely interconnected webs of transistors similar to the brain’s neural networks. … The chip contains 5.4 billion transistors, yet draws just 70 milliwatts of power. By contrast, modern Intel processors in today’s personal computers and data centers may have 1.4 billion transistors and consume far more power — 35 to 140 watts.  Today’s conventional microprocessors and graphics processors are capable of performing billions of mathematical operations a second, yet the new chip system clock makes its calculations barely a thousand times a second.  But because of the vast number of circuits working in parallel, it is still capable of performing 46 billion operations a second per watt of energy consumed, according to IBM researchers.  The TrueNorth has one million ‘neurons,’ about as complex as the brain of a bee.”

Quickie Analysis:  A potentially game-changing advance with implications for anything that relies on computing power, which is to say pretty much everything.

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