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"Everything starts as somebody's daydream. And, when you're daydreaming, it is science fiction. It's when you start work out how you put it together, true science fiction becomes real science."
- Larry Niven

Positronic Brain  
  A computer CPU with the capacity to rival a human brain.  

By exact count, there are seventy-five thousand, two hundred and thirty-four operations necessary for the manufacture of a single positronic brain.
From Reason, by Isaac Asimov.
Published by Astounding S-F in 1941
Additional resources -

Here's another quote:

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.

Compare to the Laminated Mouse Brain Computer from Think Blue, Count Two (1962) by Cordwainer Smith, the neuristor from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966) by Robert Heinlein, the artificial brain from The Metal Giants (1926) by Edmond Hamilton and the Thorsen memory tube from The Door Into Summer (1956) by Robert Heinlein.

Thanks to Alex Mair for contributing this item.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Reason
  More Ideas and Technology by Isaac Asimov
  Tech news articles related to Reason
  Tech news articles related to works by Isaac Asimov

Positronic Brain-related news articles:
  - Brain Chip Hardware Neurons And Synapses
  - First Transistor That Mimics Brain Synapse
  - Carbon Nanotube Synapse Circuit Like Human Neuron
  - Human-like Brain For Robots?
  - IBM's Neurosynaptic Computing Chips
  - Neuromorphic Computer Offers Non-von Neumann Architecture

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Orwell's Memory Hole Looms Larger Thanks To Nvidia
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