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In A Spectacular Breakthrough, IBM Creates First Artificial Neuron Ever

In A Spectacular Breakthrough, IBM Creates First Artificial Neuron Ever - International Business Machines Corporation NYSE:IBM, Micron Technology, Inc. NASDAQ:MU

Brace yourself for some mind-blowing news. Scientists at International Business Machines Corp. IBM 0.8% have created working, artificial neurons and synapses.

The artificial neurons in question were built using a phase-change material (PCM), germanium antimony telluride to be specific, that mimics the cognitive learning capability of the human brain.

What’s interesting about PCMs is that they can change their phase “from an amorphous insulator to a crystalline conductor when hit with a strong enough electric pulse — thus acting like both, a resister and capacitor, and mimicking, to a certain extent, the behavior of biological neurons’ lipid bilayer membrane,” Avaneesh Pandey explained in an article.

But, the similarities between real neurons and IBM’s artificial ones do not end there. These new structures also present “stochasticity,” which means they can produce unpredictable results, unlike preexisting technologies. This creates the potential for learning and the creation — somewhere down the road — of “cognitive computers.”

IBM Fellow Evangelos Eleftheriou assured we are still "several years" away from seeming PCM processing chips in the market, but highlighted the importance of this breakthrough — on which other companies like Micron Technology, Inc. MU 5.13% and SAMSUNG ELECTRONIC KRW5000 OTCSSNLF have also been working.

The images below illustrate how this technology works and how it could be applied.

Source: IBM

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Disclosure: Javier Hasse holds no interest in any of the securities or entities mentioned above.

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