IBM manages to build the first artificial neurons with phase change technology.



Artificial neurons scheme of phase change (IBM)

For decades, science has tried to recreate the structure of the human brain, but until now it was impossible to imitate its power and density available components. IBM has just taken an interesting step towards the positronic brain imagined by Asimov. It has created functional artificial neurons using phase change technology.

It is not the first time that IBM announced a breakthrough in this technology nonvolatile storage (data not disappear when you turn off the device) based on crystals that alter their molecular structure to receive electrical current of different intensity. Recently the company managed to create a similar cost of the current RAM memory phase change.

However, this new breakthrough IBM goes far beyond achieving our PC run more agility. What the investigators that the company maintains in Zurich has created are neurons that perfectly mimic the functioning of human neurons. Instead of a membrane enzyme, artificial neurons bind the axon and dendrites by a crystal antimony, germanium and tellurium, similar to that used in rewritable optical disks material.

These neurons glass changes its state closely resemble its biological counterpart. To begin with, the size can be reduced to a few nanometers, allowing enough grouping these neurons in a sufficiently small space.

In the first test, IBM has 500 functioning of these neurons in a row of five chips 10 × 10 compounds of these neurons, but the system is scalable. The researchers explain in the study that have published in Nature that could create viable marketing chips to 90 nanometer right now, and that in the future could be reduced up to 14 nanometers.

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