- 2014 – August – Week 2
Tiny chip mimics brain, delivers supercomputer speed
Researchers Thursday unveiled a powerful new postage-stamp size chip delivering supercomputer performance using a process that mimics the human brain.
The new chip dubbed “TrueNorth” works to mimic the “right brain” functions of sensory processingâ€”responding to sights, smells and information from the environment to “learn” to respond in different situations, Modha said.
It accomplishes this task by using a huge network of “neurons” and “synapses,” similar to how the human brain functions by using information gathered from the body’s sensory organs.
The researchers designed TrueNorth with one million programmable neurons and 256 million programmable synapses, on a chip with 4,096 cores and 5.4 billion transistors.
A key to the performance is the extremely low energy use on the new chip, which runs on the equivalent energy of a hearing-aid battery.
Beyond six nines: Ultra-enriched silicon paves the road to quantum computing
Using a relatively straightforward technique, a team of NIST researchers has created what may be the most highly enriched silicon currently being produced. The material is more than 99.9999% pure silicon-28 (28Si), with less than 1 part per million (ppm) of the problematic isotope silicon-29 (29Si). Many quantum computing schemes require isotopically pure silicon, for example to act as a substrate in which qubits â€“ the quantum bits that store information â€“ are embedded. In reaching “five nines” (99.9998%) last year and better than “six nines” this year*, the NIST team has surpassed its own enrichment goals.