IBM today unveiled what it's calling the world's first neurosynaptic computer chip, a processor that mimics the human brain's computing abilities and power efficiency.
Known as TrueNorth, IBM's chip could cram supercomputer-like powers into a microprocessor the size of a postage stamp. Rather than solving problems through brute-force mathematical calculations, like today's processors, it was designed to understand its environment, handle ambiguity, and take action in real time and in context. Plus, it could be among the most power-efficient chips in the history of computing, enabling new types of mobile apps and computing services, IBM principal investigator and senior manager Dharmendra Modha said in an interview.
Modeled after the human brain, the TrueNorth chip incorporates 5.4 billion transistors, the most IBM has ever put on a chip. It also features 1 million programmable neurons and 256 million programmable synapses. That's far lower than the 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion to 150 trillion synapses in the human brain -- but still enough, Modha said, to run devices that could, for example, proactively issue tsunami alerts, do oil-spill monitoring, or enforce shipping lane rules. And all that happens while consuming just 70 milliwatts of power, about the same as a hearing aid.
TVNL Comment; And now, if we could only cure the common cold.....