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Samsung seeks to ‘copy and paste’ brain for chip design

Image of rat neurons on CMOS nanoelectrode array. (Samsung Electronics)
Image of rat neurons on CMOS nanoelectrode array. (Samsung Electronics)


Samsung Electronics and Harvard on Sunday introduced a new approach to mimicking the mechanism of a human brain on a memory chip.

In a paper published in Nature Electronics, Samsung engineers and Harvard researchers explained how to create memory devices that can better mimic the unique computing traits of a human brain -- low power, facile learning, adaptation to environment and autonomy and cognition.

The paper suggests copying the brain’s neuronal connection map using nano-electrode array technology, and then pasting this map onto a high-density three-dimensional solid-state memory network.

The authors of the paper are Ham Don-hee, fellow of Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology and professor of Harvard University, professor Park Hong-kun of Harvard University, Hwang Sung-woo, president and the chief executive officer of Samsung SDS and the former head of SAIT, and Kim Ki-nam, vice chairman and CEO of Samsung Electronics.

As little is known of how the mass of neurons are wired together in the brain, chips have been designed “inspired” by the brain than mimicking it directly.

However, nano-electrode array technology can effectively record the electric signals of neurons with high sensitivity and extract a wiring map, the study says.

Applications of this copied map could include solid-state drives used in daily lives and new memory such as resistive random access memory.

By Kim Byung-wook (kbw@heraldcorp.com)
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