TECH

The End Is Nigh? IBM Builds Computer Chip That Thinks Like A Human

08/08/2014 10:09 BST | Updated 08/08/2014 10:59 BST

This is where it all starts. We start making computers that think like humans and before you know it your coffee machine won't let you leave the house.

IBM has unveiled a revolutionary new computer chip that has been designed to mimic the processes of the human brain.

The SyNAPSE (Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics) chip throws away the conventional practice of using a single data channel to connect the memory with the processor, instead it uses multiple data streams allowing it to perform multiple tasks with much lower power output.

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What this translates into is a chip that contains a staggering 1 million neurons, 256 million synapses and 4,096 neurosynaptic cores.

Quite simply this allows the chip to think in much the same way that humans do whilst using a fraction of the power that current supercomputers use.

To give you some idea of just how efficient these chips are, just one chip can run using a hearing aid battery. With just 16 of these chips working in tandem you can produce the same computing power as an entire server room.

So what are the benefits of thinking like a human? Well by creating a network of communication channels the chip is able to spread the workload; allowing it to solve problems quicker.

The chip is so revolutionary that IBM has actually had to write a completely new programming language for it.

With a $57 million investment from DARPA the new chip could be used in the next-generation of supercomputers or even find itself powering the next-generation of battle suits for soldiers.