A cat is capable of recognizing faces faster than a supercomputer.
U-M computer engineer Wei Lu has taken a step toward developing this revolutionary type of machine that could be capable of learning and recognizing, as well as making more complex decisions and performing more tasks simultaneously than conventional computers can.
Lu previously built a "memristor," a device that replaces a traditional transistor and acts like a biological synapse, remembering past voltages it was subjected to. Now, he has demonstrated that this memristor can connect conventional circuits and support a process that is the basis for memory and learning in biological systems.
A paper on the research is published online in Nano Letters and is scheduled to appear in the forthcoming April edition of the journal.
"We are building a computer in the same way that nature builds a brain," said Lu, an assistant professor in the U-M Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. "The idea is to use a completely different paradigm compared to conventional computers. The cat brain sets a realistic goal because it is much simpler than a human brain but still extremely difficult to replicate in complexity and efficiency."
Most sophisticated supercomputers in today's time can accomplish certain tasks with the brain functionality of a cat, but it's a massive machine with more than 140,000 central processing units and a dedicated power supply. And it still performs 83 times slower than a cat's brain, Lu wrote in his paper.