Engineers have made faster chips for portable AI devices

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Posted on: June 22, 2020 5:24 pm EDT

The world of AI continues to make huge strides in creating faster, more autonomous machines

A study published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology this month shows the design of a “brain-on-a-chip,” which is smaller than a piece of confetti. Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were able to create this small piece of technology that contains tens of thousands of artificial brain synapses known as memristors. These memristors are made of silicon and a few metals and mimic the information-transmitting synapses in the human brain that could take artificial intelligence (AI) to the next level.

In order to create this chip, the researchers used principles of metallurgy for the creation of each memristor, which was created from alloys of silver and copper besides the silicon. The chip then ran through several visual tasks only to discover that they were crisper and cleaner compared to the usual memristor designs that do not include the alloy of these elements. The chip was able to “remember” stored images and reproduce them many times over just like regular chips.

This is an important milestone for AI devices, as it shows a promising new memristor design to be used in neuromorphic devices. This type of electronics is based on a new type of circuit that can process information in a way that imitates the brain’s neural architecture. The creation of this chip means that brain-like circuits can be built into small, portable devices, which can carry out complex tasks that so far only supercomputers can do.

In the near future, scientists envision that these memristors would require much less chip space than conventional transistors. This means that powerful, portable computing devices can be created that do not have to rely on supercomputers or even internet connections.