With imprecise chips to the artificial brain
Researcher from Bielefeld University and international colleagues present their findings
Which circuits and chips are suitable for building artificial brains using the least possible amount of power? This is the question that Junior Professor Dr. Elisabetta Chicca from the Center of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) has been investigating in collaboration with colleagues from Italy and Switzerland. A surprising finding: Constructions that use not only digital but also analog compact and imprecise circuits are more suitable for building artificial nervous systems, rather than arrangements with only digital or precise but power-demanding analog electronic circuits. The study will be published in the scientific journal ‘Proceedings of the IEEE’. A preview was published online on Thursday, 1 March 2014.
The neuroinformatics researcher is trying to utilise biological principles to build artificial nervous systems. Dr. Chicca and her colleagues have been investigating which type of circuits can simulate synapses electronically. Synapses serve as the ‘bridges’ that transmit signals between nerve cells. Stimuli are communicated through them and they can also save information. Furthermore, the research team have analysed which type of circuit can imitate the so-called plasticity of the biological nerves. Plasticity describes the ability of nerve cells, synapses and cerebral areas to adapt their characteristics according to use. In the brains of athletes, for example, certain cerebral areas are more strongly connected than in non-athletes.
The four researchers also offer solutions for the control of artificial nervous systems. They present software on the basis of which programmes can be written that can control the circuits and chips of an ‘electronic brain’.
For her study, Elisabetta Chicca collaborated with her colleagues Chiara Bartolozzi PhD (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia/ Italian Institute of Technology – IIT), Professor Dr. Giacomo Indiveri and Fabio Stefanini PhD (both at the Institute of Neuroinformatics, INI, in Zurich and the ETH Zurich).
Elisabetta Chicca, Fabio Stefanini, Chiara Bartolozzi, Giacomo Indiveri: Neuromorphic Electronic circuits for Building Autonomous Cognitive Systems. Proceedings of the IEEE.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/JPROC.2014.2313954, published online on 1 May 2014
Further Information available online:
Jun. Prof. Dr. Elisabetta Chicca, Bielefeld University
Center of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC)
Telephone: +49 (0) 521 106 12043