by Alex A. Kecskes
Researchers at the University of Idaho are engineering a brave new world of artificial neurons that mimic human biology and take a quantum leap ahead of today’s microchip-based computing.
So what exactly is a neuron? Simply a specialized type of nerve cell that continues to develop new synaptic connections to other cells, helping the brain to learn. In an organic brain, electrical signals are passed between neurons via connections called synapses. The brain uses electrical signals to processes and accesses information, and make decisions. Artificial neural networks replicate this method of processing information and learning,
These new low-power neural networks have shrunk to just a few cells per neuron, which can sense, process information, and perform routing and actuation similar to the brain. The new "biomimic artificial neuron" comprises the essential building block for a bold new generation of computers—devices that will finally be able to learn on their own, without programming.
Learning is facilitated by special interconnections that link groups of biomimic neurons, called “performance feedback signals.” These connections gauge the appropriateness of the bio-computer's output responses to input stimuli. So training occurs instead of programming.
Research engineers see a multitude of applications for this new breed of neurocomputer, which can be used in manufacturing, computing, electronics, space and transportation industries. Companies will finally be able to design and fabricate their own chip solutions to meet emerging markets.
To get a taste of this brave new world, check out my article, Meet Helen…Your New Online Teacher.
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Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients.