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IBM Scientists on the powerful capabilities of phase-change-based artificial neurons



From the ability to detect patterns in financial transactions, find discrepancies, use data from social media to discover new cultural trends in real time, to computational primitives, the stakes and applications are huge when it comes to artificial neurons.

While the artificial neurons do not store digital information; because they are analog, (as the synapses and neurons in our biological brain), IBM scientists have created randomly spiking neurons using phase-change materials to store and process data. 

In effect, it is a significant step forward in the development of energy-efficient, ultra-dense integrated neuromorphic technologies for applications in cognitive computing.

Inspired by the way the biological brain functions, the artificial neurons designed by IBM scientists in Zurich consist of phase-change materials, including germanium antimony telluride, which exhibit two stable states, an amorphous one (without a clearly defined structure) and a crystalline one (with structure). IBM scientists have organized hundreds of artificial neurons into populations.

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