Neuromorphic computer chips – Qualcomm configuring silicon to be more like brains than traditional chips
Tue 29 Apr 2014
Excellent update from MIT Technology Review on research into neuromorphic chips – effectively processors that calculate in the same manner as a brain. Get passed the long-winded intro, which is attempting to say these chips are currently being designed to process sensory data such as images and sound and to respond to changes in that data in ways not specifically programmed, and the rest of it will challenge your imagination.
The article focuses on the Zeroth project at Qualcomm who says its first output won’t be until 2015 at the earliest. But it is hoped to be the first large-scale commercial platform for neuromorphic computing. Clearly the work is looking at the technology’s possible application in mobile devices.
“Neuromorphic chips attempt to model in silicon the massively parallel way the brain processes information as billions of neurons and trillions of synapses respond to sensory inputs such as visual and auditory stimuli. Those neurons also change how they connect with each other in response to changing images, sounds, and the like. That is the process we call learning. The chips, which incorporate brain-inspired models called neural networks, do the same.”
“Qualcomm is especially interested in the possibility that neuromorphic chips could transform smartphones and other mobile devices into cognitive companions that pay attention to your actions and surroundings and learn your habits over time. “If you and your device can perceive the environment in the same way, your device will be better able to understand your intentions and anticipate your needs,” says Samir Kumar, a business development director at Qualcomm’s research lab.”