Definition

neurosynaptic chip (cognitive chip)

What is a neurosynaptic chip?

A neurosynaptic chip, also known as a cognitive chip, is a computer processor that functions more like a biological brain than a typical CPU does. Unlike cognitive computing and neural networks, which are made to emulate the  thought and learning of humans through software, neurosynaptic chips are made to function like human brains on the hardware level.

Cognitive chip uses

While a typical computer works well for language, mathematical and data analytics processing, it can take a lot of work for it to perform tasks that even simple biological brains are efficient at. A neurosynaptic chip is more efficient at these tasks, which include pattern recognition and sensory processing and learning.

Especially in mobile technology, where processing and power are limited, the neurosynaptic chip stands to revolutionize abilities. Tasks like selecting the best produce or finding repair points in electronics could be carried out using smartphone cameras.

For traditional computer architectures, it takes a supercomputer to perform these tasks, consuming massive amounts of power in the process. Neurosynaptic chips make this possible with a tenth of the energy requirements.

The chip also has promise for supercomputing applications. IBM has a neurosynaptic processor project, called Brainpower. MIT has simulated a functioning brain synapse in their quest for truly intelligent systems. A goal of the IBM project is a trillion synapses with only 4kW.

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This was last updated in October 2021

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