Brain Chip Hardware Neurons And Synapses
A chip brain created by the FACETS project will have 200,000 neurons and 50 million synapses. This not a software simulation of a brain; this is a chip consisting of hardware neurons and synapses.
According to the project website:
...the brain is dramatically different from conventional computers. The differences are not only due to the use of biological tissue rather than silicon but also in terms of the computing architecture. The brain is not composed out of highly specialized and separated building blocks like a microprocessor but exhibits a rather uniform structure. It does not use Boolean operations like ANDs and ORs to perform logical operations on well defined stable states but involves the dynamics of transient states to code and to process information. Maybe most importantly, there is no engineered software to deal with pre-defined situations. Instead, the brain is based on a huge number of truly massively parallel non-linear processing elements (neurons), a very high connectivity (synapses) and self-organisation (learning, plasticity).
(Design Study of a Neural Network Hardware Using Wafer Scale Integration)
"[so] rather than simulating neurons," says Karlheinz Meier, a physicist at Heidelberg University, in Germany, who has coordinated the Fast Analog Computing with Emergent Transient States project, or FACETS, "we are building them." Using a standard eight-inch silicon wafer, the researchers recreate the neurons and synapses as circuits of transistors and capacitors, designed to produce the same sort of electrical activity as their biological counterparts.
A neuron circuit typically consists of about 100 components, while a synapse requires only about 20. However, because there are so much more of them, the synapses take up most of the space on the wafer, says Karlheinz.
The advantage of this hardwired approach, as opposed to a simulation, Karlheinz continues, is that it allows researchers to recreate the brain-like structure in a way that is truly parallel. Getting simulations to run in real time requires huge amounts of computing power. Plus, physical models are able to run much faster and are more scalable. In fact, the current prototype can operate about 100,000 times faster than a real human brain.
(Neural chip early prototype has just 384 neurons and 100,000 synapses)
SF fans have been waiting for hardware brain components for generations.
Isaac Asimov, in his short story Reason,
All that had been done in the mid 20th century on "calculating machines" had been upset by Robertson and his positronic brain paths. The miles of relays and photocells had given way to the spongy globe of platinum iridium about the size of the human brain.
(Read more about the positronic brain)
Robert Heinlein, in his novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress,
When Mike was installed in Luna, he was pure thinkum, a flexible logic - "High-Optional, Logical, Multi-evaluating Supervisor, Mark IV, Mod. L" - a HOLMES FOUR... They kept hooking hardware into him... By third year Mike had better than one and a half times that many neuristors.
(Read more about Mike the HOLMES Four computer)
From Building a Brain on a Silicon Chip and the FACETS Project website. Thanks to muj0 for the tip and the reference.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/26/2009)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 4 )
Related News Stories -
The Largest Virtual Universe!
'...a machine able literally to contain the Universe Itself .' - Stanislaw Lem, 1965.
ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
'Slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon...' - William Gibson, 1984.
Robot Swarms Controlled With Augmented Reality
'You're not thinking in enough dimensions...' - Daniel Suarez, 2009.
Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1956.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'
Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.'
SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...'
Pangorin Restaurant Service Robots
What'll you have? Jawa juice?
Drug Creates Real Melanin Tan
I've used them all my life...
Medical Drones Hover Like Angels Near You
'The death-reversal equipment is on its way...'
SkEye Amazing Israeli Gigapixel Drone
'An eye that could not only see, but fly...'
How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.'
'Liquid Light' Flows Around Corners
Light as a superfluid.
Unrolling The Filmy Materials Of Space Tech
'When unfolded and unrolled... it became a tough, gleaming film.'
Buddy Companion Robot Your Bulbous Friend
'Nanny was built in the shape of a sphere, a large metal sphere, flattened on the bottom...'
Poli-X1 Prototype Bee Pollinator
Is there anything drones can't do?
Bake in Space Bake-Off... In Space!
'A joyous condition commenced for the cook in the electric kitchen...'
DeepMind AI Baffled By Homer Simpson, Needs Human Help
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off...'
Does Earth's Middle Mantle Hold Oceans Of Water?
Al Gore, you have no idea.
Vaccine Blocks Heroin High
'You're biochemically incapable of getting off...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories