IBM Unveils SyNAPSE Chip That Mimics the Human Brain
IBM has produced a fully functional production-scale chip, known as SyNAPSE, which mimics the human brain.IBM announced a chip with brain-inspired non-von Neumann computer architecture that has one million neurons and 256 million synapses. The chip, known as Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics, or SyNAPSE, is built on Samsung's 28nm process technology that has a dense on-chip memory and low-leakage transistors. IBM said it is the first neurosynaptic computer chip to achieve a scale of 1 million programmable neurons, 256 million programmable synapses and 46 billion synaptic operations per second per watt. And, at 5.4 billion transistors, the production-scale chip is one of the largest CMOS chips ever built, yet while running at biological real time, it consumes only 70mW—orders of magnitude less power than a modern microprocessor, IBM said. As a neurosynaptic supercomputer the size of a postage stamp that runs on the energy equivalent of a hearing-aid battery, SyNAPSE could transform science, technology, business, government and society by enabling vision, auditory and multi-sensory applications. The long-running project has been funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Today's breakthrough, published in Science in collaboration with Cornell Tech, is a significant step toward bringing cognitive computers to society, IBM said.
"IBM has broken new ground in the field of brain-inspired computers, in terms of a radically new architecture, unprecedented scale, unparalleled power/area/speed efficiency, boundless scalability, and innovative design techniques," Dr. Dharmendra S. Modha, IBM Fellow and IBM chief scientist for brain-inspired computing at IBM Research, said in a statement. "We foresee new generations of information technology systems—that complement today's von Neumann machines—powered by an evolving ecosystem of systems, software and services.