A brain-inspired computer chip that could supercharge artificial intelligence (AI) by working faster with much less power has been developed by researchers at IBM in San Jose, California. Their massive NorthPole processor chip eliminates the need to frequently access external memory, and so performs tasks such as image recognition faster than existing architectures do — while consuming vastly less power.

“Its energy efficiency is just mind-blowing,” says Damien Querlioz, a nanoelectronics researcher at the University of Paris-Saclay in Palaiseau. The work, published in Science1, shows that computing and memory can be integrated on a large scale, he says. “I feel the paper will shake the common thinking in computer architecture.”

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