Intel reveals world’s biggest ‘brain-inspired’ neuromorphic computer

A computer intended to mimic the way the brain processes and stores data could potentially improve the efficiency and capabilities of artificial intelligence models

Intel has created the world’s largest neuromorphic computer, a device intended to mimic the operation of the human brain. The firm hopes that it will be able to run more sophisticated AI models than is possible on conventional computers, but experts say there are engineering hurdles to overcome before the device can compete with the state of the art, let alone exceed it.

Expectations for neuromorphic computers are high because they are inherently different to traditional machines. While a regular computer uses its processor to carry out operations and stores data in separate memory, a neuromorphic device uses artificial neurons to both store and compute, just as our brains do. This removes the need to shuttle data back and forth between components, which can be a bottleneck for current computers.

Computer Neural Network Concept Image

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This architecture could bring far greater energy efficiency, with Intel claiming its new Hala Point neuromorphic computer uses 100 times less energy than conventional machines when running optimisation problems, which involve finding the best solution to a problem given certain constraints. It could also unlock new ways to train and run AI models that use chains of neurons, as real brains process information, rather than mechanically passing an input through each and every layer of artificial neurons, as current models do.

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