Analog brain synapse technology is energy efficient: Page 2 of 2

June 23, 2020 //By Julien Happich
brain synapse
Using state-of-the-art semiconductor circuits to simulate neural networks requires large amounts of memory and high power consumption, but using analogue devices, researchers at MIT have demonstrated they could mimic brain processes much more efficiently.

“The mechanism is similar to the doping of semiconductors,” says Ju Li, who is also a professor of nuclear science and engineering and of materials science and engineering. In that process, the conductivity of silicon can be changed by many orders of magnitude by introducing foreign ions into the silicon lattice.

“Traditionally those ions were implanted at the factory,” he says, but with the new device, the ions are pumped in and out of the lattice in a dynamic, ongoing process. The researchers can control how much of the “dopant” ions go in or out by controlling the voltage, and “we’ve demonstrated a very good repeatability and energy efficiency,” he says.


A new system developed at MIT and Brookhaven National
Lab could provide a faster, more reliable and much more
energy efficient approach to physical neural networks, by
using analog ionic-electronic devices to mimic synapses.
Courtesy of the researchers.

Yildiz adds that this process is “very similar to how the synapses of the biological brain work. There, we’re not working with protons, but with other ions such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, etc., and by moving those ions you actually change the resistance of the synapses, and that is an element of learning.”

The process taking place in the tungsten trioxide in their device is similar to the resistance modulation taking place in biological synapses, she says.

“What we have demonstrated here,” Yildiz says, “even though it’s not an optimized device, gets to the order of energy consumption per unit area per unit change in conductance that’s close to that in the brain.”

The materials used in the demonstration of the new device were chosen for their compatibility with present semiconductor manufacturing systems, according to Li. But they include a polymer material that limits the device’s tolerance for heat, so the team is still searching for other variations of the device’s proton-conducting membrane and better ways of encapsulating its hydrogen source for long-term operations.

MIT - www.mit.edu


Vous êtes certain ?

Si vous désactivez les cookies, vous ne pouvez plus naviguer sur le site.

Vous allez être rediriger vers Google.