Modern computers are almost all built on the same Von Neumann architecture that explicitly separates the processor, memory, and storage, each focused on its own specialized task. Animal brains are built on a different model, with different parts of the brain performing a variety of functions, and neuroplasticity that demonstrates that the brain can change how it does its thing. Scientists at IBM Research have been working on silicon chips based on the brain’s architecture which consist of a network of “neurosynaptic cores” where the processing, memory, and the interface are all nearby, while the system is distributed and can be made arbitrarily larger.
We hope that the new chip design will allow for improvements in brain-computer-interface devices, implants, and the ability to understand how the brain functions. There are a variety of projects that IBM has already looked into and created a gallery of those ideas.
Here’s one of the lead researchers of the SyNAPSE project discussing the motivation for and design of the new computer architecture:
More from IBM Research: Neurosynaptic chips: Building blocks for cognitive systems…