Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain-like computing a step closer to reality

Date:
June 24, 2011
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
The development of 'brain-like' computers has taken a major step forward. A new study involved the first ever demonstration of simultaneous information processing and storage using phase-change materials. This new technique could revolutionize computing by making computers faster and more energy-efficient, as well as making them more closely resemble biological systems.

Artist's concept. Researchers have demonstrated simultaneous information processing and storage using phase-change materials. This new technique could revolutionize computing by making computers faster and more energy-efficient, as well as making them more closely resemble biological systems.
Credit: Nikolai Sorokin / Fotolia

The development of 'brain-like' computers has taken a major step forward with the publication of research led by the University of Exeter.

Published in the journal Advanced Materials, the study involved the first ever demonstration of simultaneous information processing and storage using phase-change materials. This new technique could revolutionize computing by making computers faster and more energy-efficient, as well as making them more closely resemble biological systems.

Computers currently deal with processing and memory separately, resulting in a speed and power 'bottleneck' caused by the need to continually move data around. This is totally unlike anything in biology, for example in human brains, where no real distinction is made between memory and computation. To perform these two functions simultaneously the University of Exeter research team used phase-change materials, a kind of semi-conductor that exhibits remarkable properties.

Their study demonstrates conclusively that phase-change materials can store and process information simultaneously. It also shows experimentally for the first time that they can perform general-purpose computing operations, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. More strikingly perhaps it shows that phase-change materials can be used to make artificial neurons and synapses. This means that an artificial system made entirely from phase-change devices could potentially learn and process information in a similar way to our own brains.

Lead author Professor David Wright of the University of Exeter said: "Our findings have major implications for the development of entirely new forms of computing, including 'brain-like' computers. We have uncovered a technique for potentially developing new forms of 'brain-like' computer systems that could learn, adapt and change over time. This is something that researchers have been striving for over many years."

This study focused on the performance of a single phase-change cell. The next stage in Exeter's research will be to build systems of interconnected cells that can learn to perform simple tasks, such as identification of certain objects and patterns.

This research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. David Wright, Yanwei Liu, Krisztian I. Kohary, Mustafa M. Aziz, Robert J. Hicken. Arithmetic and Biologically-Inspired Computing Using Phase-Change Materials. Advanced Materials, 2011; DOI: 10.1002/adma.201101060

Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Brain-like computing a step closer to reality." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110623130736.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2011, June 24). Brain-like computing a step closer to reality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110623130736.htm
University of Exeter. "Brain-like computing a step closer to reality." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110623130736.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A 19-year-old computer science student has been arrested in relation to a data breach of 900 social insurance numbers from Canada's revenue agency. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple Rumored To Introduce Song ID Service In Next iOS Build

Apple Rumored To Introduce Song ID Service In Next iOS Build

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) Sources close to Apple told Bloomberg the company plans to introduce an integrated song identification service during the launch of its next iOS. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

AFP (Apr. 17, 2014) It walks and runs, even up and down stairs. It can open a bottle and serve a drink, and politely tries to shake hands with a stranger. Meet the latest ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yahoo's Ousted COO Gets $58M Severance Package

Yahoo's Ousted COO Gets $58M Severance Package

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) According to SEC filings, Yahoo gave ousted COO Henrique de Castro a $58 million severance package. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins