News / Science & Technology

New Chip Mimics Human Brain

IBM's brain-inspired architecture consists of a network of neurosynaptic cores.
IBM's brain-inspired architecture consists of a network of neurosynaptic cores.
George Putic

An important advance in the quest for artificial intelligence was announced Thursday by the U.S. computer giant IBM: the creation of a microprocessor modeled after the human brain.

The new, postage-stamp-sized neurosynaptic chip, called TrueNorth, contains 5.4 billion interconnected transistors to mimic human brain’s neurons and synapses. All of its 1 million neurons and 256 million synapses are programmable.

Although the human brain contains 100 billion neurons and up to 150 trillion synapses, IBM says it will be possible to program the new chip to understand the ambiguity of problems and solve them in real time, taking account of the context.

IBM also says the new chip is very power-efficient, requiring only 70 milliwatts of power.

It is still in its experimental phase but IBM says it could be on the market in two to three years.

The True North chip could be used as a brain for search-and-rescue robots, for controlling sophisticated wheelchairs, or for creating transcripts of discussions involving several people.

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