IBM has unveiled a prototype of a new brain-inspired computer powered by what it calls “electronic blood”.
The firm says it is learning from nature by building computers fuelled and cooled by a liquid, like our minds.
The human brain packs phenomenal computing power into a tiny space and uses only 20 watts of energy – an efficiency IBM is keen to match.
Its new “redox flow” system pumps an electrolyte “blood” through a computer, carrying power in and taking heat out.
A very basic model was demonstrated this week at the technology giant’s Zurich lab by Dr Patrick Ruch and Dr Bruno Michel.
Their vision is that by 2060, a one petaflop computer that would fill half a football field today, will fit on your desktop.
“We want to fit a supercomputer inside a sugarcube. To do that, we need a paradigm shift in electronics – we need to be motivated by our brain,” says Michel.
“The human brain is 10,000 times more dense and efficient than any computer today.
“That’s possible because it uses only one – extremely efficient – network of capillaries and blood vessels to transport heat and energy – all at the same time.”
IBM’s brainiest computer to date is Watson, which famously trounced two champions of the US TV quiz show Jeopardy.
The victory was hailed as a landmark for cognitive computing – machine had surpassed man.