Biologically inspired circuitry could help build future low-power AI chips—if some obstacles are overcome.
The news: Researchers at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology built a new magnetically controlled electronic synapse, an artificial equivalent of the ones that link neurons. They fire millions of times faster than the ones in your brain, while using 1,000th as much energy (which is also less than any other artificial synapse to date).
Why it matters: Synthetic synapses, which gather multiple signals and fire electronic pulses at a threshold, may be an alternative to transistors in regular processors. They can be assembled to create so-called neuromorphic chips that work more like a brain. Such devices can run artificial neural networks, which underpin modern AI, more efficiently than regular chips. This new synapse could make them even more energy-efficient.
But: The synapses haven’t yet been used to create a large device, so it’s not clear a useful chip can be built from them. And they run at temperatures of 5 K—too cold for a practical computing device.
How Rust went from a side project to the world’s most-loved programming language
For decades, coders wrote critical systems in C and C++. Now they turn to Rust.
Welcome to the oldest part of the metaverse
Ultima Online, which just turned 25, offers a lesson in the challenges of building virtual worlds.
A new paradigm for managing data
Open data lakehouse architectures speed insights and deliver self-service analytics capabilities.
These underwater cables can improve tsunami detection
Telecom companies have long resisted letting scientific sensors piggyback on their subsea cables—until now.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.