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The human brain has amazing capabilities making it in many ways more powerful than the world’s most advanced computers. So it’s not surprising that engineers have long been trying to copy it. Today, artificial neural networks inspired by the structure of the brain are used to tackle some of the most difficult problems in artificial intelligence (AI). But this approach typically involves building software so information is processed in a similar way to the brain, rather than creating hardware that mimics neurons.

My colleagues and I instead hope to build the first dedicated neural network computer, using the latest “quantum” technology rather than AI software. By combining these two branches of computing, we hope to produce a breakthrough which leads to AI that operates at unprecedented speed, automatically making very complex decisions in a very short time.

We need much more advanced AI if we want it to help us create things like truly autonomous self-driving cars and systems for accurately managing the traffic flow of an entire city in real-time. Many attempts to build this kind of software involve writing code that mimics the way neurons in the human brain work and combining many of these artificial neurons into a network. Each neuron mimics a decision-making process by taking a number of input signals and processing them to give an output corresponding to either “yes” or “no”.

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Category: Science