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Polish scientists on track to emulate brain neuronal network

Scientists from the University of Warsaw and the Polish Academy of Sciences developed a photonic artificial neuron in a step toward developing “hardware capable of unconventional computing by emulating the physiology of the neuronal network of a brain,” the scientists wrote in a recently published research paper.

Society’s appetite for information is constantly growing, and so is the need to process this information ever faster. Conventional computer systems may not be able to cope with the growing demand for more computing power while increasing energy efficiency.

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The solution to the problem may lie in so-called neuromorphic networks, which mimic the action of the biological brain. They are the future of artificial intelligence, as they allow for much faster and more efficient processing of information in tasks such as image recognition.

The human brain performs trillions of operations per second, using only 20 – 25 watts of power. By comparison, conventional processors use ten times that much power to recognise just a thousand different types of objects,” the scientists stressed.

Photonic artificial neuron

The researchers arranged the atoms of various types of semiconductor crystals layer by layer to create a prototype photonic artificial neuron.

As the experiment requires a temperature of -269 degrees Celcius to work accordingly, Professor Jacek Szczytko of the Department of Physics at the University of Warsaw said that “our next goal is to move the experiment from cryogenic conditions to room temperature.”

He added that the aim of the research is to create a network in which information is transmitted orders of magnitude faster and in a more energy-efficient way compared to existing solutions.

The research conducted by the Polish scientists was published in the latest „Laser & Photonics Reviews” scientific journal.

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