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"It seems plausible that with technology we can, in the fairly near future create (or become) creatures who surpass humans in every intellectual and creative dimension. Events beyond such an event -- such a singularity -- are as unimaginable to us as opera is to a flatworm,"wrote Vernor Vinge -one of science fiction's greats.

“There must be a better way to do this, because nature has figured out a better way to do this,” says Michael Schneider, a physicist at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colorado.

Superconducting computing chips modelled after neurons can process information faster and more efficiently than the human brain. The synapses can fire up to one billion times per second — several orders of magnitude faster than human neurons — and use one ten-thousandth of the amount of energy used by a biological synapse.

That achievement is a key benchmark in the development of advanced computing devices designed to mimic biological systems, reports the journal Nature. And it could open the door to more natural machine-learning software, although many hurdles remain before it could be used commercially.

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Category: Science