U.S. computer firm IBM has developed a microchip capable of processing several operations simultaneously, a feature that sets it apart from traditional chips and to a great extent simulates the functioning of the human brain, the company said.
In an article published in the online version of Science magazine, IBM recalled that traditional chips are capable of processing one operation at a time with incredible speed, the result of which can immediately set off a new operation.
This “linear” logic, however, is not the way the brain works and in which numerous operations take place at the same time - something IBM has managed to mimic with its new microchip and which, according to the company, could revolutionize the world of information technology (IT), since to a large extent it improves such aspects as the recognition of, and reaction to, changing situations and images in movement.
Every one of the new IBM chips is made up of 5 billion transistors, which simulate more than a million “neurons” and 256 million “synapses” - connections between nerve cells - which places them in the category of supercomputers and allows them to reproduce on a small scale the functioning of the human brain.
“It’s a supercomputer the size of postage stamp, the weight of a feather and runs on the power of a hearing-aid. It’s a genuinely radical innovation,” Dharmendra Modha, chief scientist for brain-inspired computing at IBM Research, said in Science magazine.
According to its developers, another great advantage of the new microchip is that it consumes less energy than traditional designs, making it much more efficient.
“We derived insight from two sides of neuroscience: neuroanatomy for structure and neurophysiology for systems,” Modha said in an interview with NBC News.