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Step Forward in Artificial Intelligence: Scientists Create Artificial Neural Circuit

First Posted: May 12, 2015 11:13 AM EDT

It's a new and significant step forward for artificial intelligence. Scientists have created a simple artificial neural circuit for the very first time. The circuit of about 100 artificial synapses managed to perform a simple version of a typical human task: image classification.

The human brain remains a model of computation power and efficiency. This is because the brain can accomplish certain functions in a fraction of a second. In contrast, computers would require far more time and energy to perform the same function.

For example, your brain makes countless split-second decision about the letters and symbols you see as you read. Even if the font changed, your brain would able to be able to instantly adapt and derive the same meaning.

In this latest push toward artificial intelligence, the circuit successfully implemented the rudimentary artificial neural network to classify three letters-z, v and n-by their images. Each letter was stylized in different was or saturated with "noise."

"While the circuit was very small compared to practical networks, it is big enough to prove the concept of practicality," said Farnood Marrikh-Bayat, one of the researchers, in a news release. "And, as more solutions to the technological challenges are proposed the technology will be able to make it to the market sooner."

This is a huge step forward for artificial intelligence. In addition, potential applications already exist for this emerging technology, such as medical imaging, the improvement of navigation systems or even for searches based on images rather than text.

"Classical computers will always find an ineluctable limit to efficient brain-like computation in their very architecture," said Mirko Prezioso, one of the researchers. "This memristor-based technology relies on a completely different way inspired by biological brain to carry on computation."

The findings are published in the journal Nature.

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