IBM’s TrueNorth Rat Brain

IBM’s TrueNorth project has reached a new stage – enough neurons to be comparable to a rat brain. Is this the future of AI? The obvious answer is “yes”, but the TrueNorth project is a more subtle proposition than you might think. All of the big breakthroughs in what neural networks can do that you have been reading about are based on a simple model of an artificial neuron. The inputs to the neuron are continuous and they sum up the inputs using a set of weights that represent what it has learned and outputs a simple function of those inputs. IBM’s TrueNorth chip isn’t quite like this – it is a spiking neural network where the activation is proportional to the rate of impulses a neuron generates and receives.…


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