Can IBM’s New Smart Chip Think Like a Human?

ibmTim Beyers of The Motley Fool recently wrote, “For years, International Business Machines has been dabbling with what it calls ‘cognitive computing.’ Now the company that brought you the Watson supercomputer believes it has a chip that can think like the human brain. Called TrueNorth, the chip draws on some 5.4 billion interconnected transistors to form a vast network not unlike the neural networks found in the human brain. That's a potentially massive breakthrough, especially for Internet-connected mobile devices that encounter new data every second. We're likely to be years away from mass production of the TrueNorth chip. And even then, experts quoted in this article in The New York Times seem to be split on its potential impact.”

Beyers continues, “Pattern recognition is what sets the brain apart. As [IBM Fellow Dharmendra] Modha puts it: ‘If we think of today's von Neumann (i.e., traditional) computers as akin to the ‘left-brain’ -- fast, symbolic, number-crunching calculators, then TrueNorth can be likened to the ‘right-brain’ -- slow, sensory, pattern recognizing machines.’ Think about that for a minute. With TrueNorth, IBM isn't going for speed or processing horsepower, but adaptability. Big Blue wants to build machines that learn.”

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Image:  Courtesy IBM