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ACM TechNews

Electronic Synapses That Can Learn: Towards an Artificial Brain?


Artist's impression of the electronic synapse.

Researchers from several European institutions have developed an artificial synapse on a chip that can learn autonomously.

Credit: Sren Boyn/CNRS/Thales physics joint research unit.

European researchers from several institutions have developed an artificial synapse on a chip that can learn autonomously.

The researchers created a physical model that explains this learning capacity, a breakthrough they say could lead to the development of a network of synapses and intelligent systems.

The artificial synapse, called a memristor, consists of a thin ferroelectric layer sandwiched between two electrodes, whose resistance can be tuned using voltage pulses similar to those in neurons. If the resistance is low the synaptic connection will be strong, and if the resistance is high the connection will be weak. The researchers say this ability to adapt to resistance enables the synapse to learn.

The team notes the research will be used for real-time shape recognition using an innovative camera in which the pixels remain inactive, except when they see a change in the angle of vision.

From CNRS
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