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Science Breakthroughs of 2014: Neuromorphic Chips

January 1, 2015

2014 Science Breakthroughs of the Year: Can computers think more like people do?



Chips that think like a brain. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

To celebrate the New Year, we are counting down the 2014 Science Breakthroughs of the Year, chosen by the editors of Science magazine. Today, neuromorphic chips: computer chips that abandon the binary world of regular chips, and mimic the multiple connections of brain cells. Science deputy news editor Robert Koontz says that while old-fashioned processors do great with arithmetic, they’re not suited for tasks like vision.

ROBERT KOONTZ (Science magazine):

The human brain has no problem with vision; it’s one of the things it does. And its secret is lots of networking: our brains have about a hundred billion cells that are linked with a hundred trillion synapses. These brain-like, or neuromorphic, chips, are designed to work the way the brain does.


In 2014, scientists at IBM, HRL, Qualcomm and the Human Brain Project all made significant strides toward making neuromorphic computing a reality. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.