Researchers Pave The Road For Brain-Inspired Computer Architecture

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Researchers discovered a new molecule which could improve the decision making in computers.

Researchers from University of Limerick in Ireland have discovered a new molecule which could further increase ultra-fast decision making in computers. This discovery enables a new type of energy-saving architecture, and could have major implications in areas spanning from financial decision-making to bioinformatics.

The team of researchers discovered that a simple molecule made from just 77 atoms provides a novel fundamental electronic circuit element in which complex logic is encoded in nanoscale material properties.

The new type of brain-inspired computing architecture was created by optimizing the electrical properties of soft crystals grown from the molecules.

Damien Thompson, Professor in Physics at UL who leads a research team in predictive materials design at the Bernal Institute, made the discovery using state of the art computer simulations. He showed that the molecule uses natural asymmetry in its metal-organic bonds to cleanly switch between different states, which allows it to perform ultra-fast decision-making.

“In the new device, everything is done in one place, so there is no need to keep reading or moving information around,” explains the researcher. “This removes the ‘von Neumann bottleneck’, a problem that has plagued computing from the very beginning and still hampers technology development. The new molecular circuitry means the computer-processing unit no longer has to fetch data for every operation it performs, and this saves enormously on time and energy costs.”

“We are excited about the possibilities because the devices show all the hallmarks of brain computing. First, a huge number of tiny, identical molecular processors are networked together and work in parallel. More importantly, they show both redundancy and reconfigurability, which means the device can solve problems even if the individual components do not all work perfectly all the time or in the exact same way every time.”

“The new circuit elements could provide computers that are smaller, faster, and more energy efficient, exactly what is needed for edge computing, internet of things and artificial intelligence applications,” Professor Thompson added.

The research appeared in the journal Nature.


 

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