'Scientists at IBM Research have created by far the most advanced neuromorphic (brain-like) computer chip to date. The chip, called TrueNorth, consists of 1 million programmable neurons and 256 million programmable synapses across 4096 individual neurosynaptic cores. Built on Samsung’s 28nm process and with a monstrous transistor count of 5.4 billion, this is one of the largest and most advanced computer chips ever made. Perhaps most importantly, though, TrueNorth is incredibly efficient: The chip consumes just 72 milliwatts at max load, which equates to around 400 billion synaptic operations per second per watt - or about 176,000 times more efficient than a modern CPU running the same brain-like workload, or 769 times more efficient than other state-of-the-art neuromorphic approaches. Yes, IBM is now a big step closer to building a brain on a chip.
'The animal brain (which includes the human brain, of course), as you may have heard before, is by far the most efficient computer in the known universe. As you can see in the graph below, the human brain has a “clock speed” (neuron firing speed) measured in tens of hertz, and a total power consumption of around 20 watts. A modern silicon chip, despite having features that are almost on the same tiny scale as biological neurons and synapses, can consume thousands or millions times more energy to perform the same task as a human brain. As we move towards more advanced areas of computing, such as artificial general intelligence and big data analysis - areas that IBM just happens to be deeply involved with - it would really help if we had a silicon chip that was capable of brain-like efficiency.
'Enter TrueNorth, the culmination of the six-year-old SyNAPSE project at IBM Research. The work, which has been partly funded by DARPA since 2008, resulted in a prototype chip with just 256 neurons in 2011, and the Corelet programming language in 2013. This new chip is a second-generation version of the 2011 prototype, based on a new process (Samsung 28nm vs. IBM 45nm) and is orders of magnitude more complex, functional, and efficient. TrueNorth is implemented in standard CMOS transistors, just like the CPU in your PC - but that’s where the similarities end.' (Smart Engineering article).