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Samsung proposes “copying and pasting” data from our brain onto memory chips: manufacturers are already thinking about how to use neuromorphic computing

Neuromorphic computing, one that seeks to design algorithms and integrated circuits imitating the nervous system of animals, is one of the branches with the most potential. AND during these last years we are beginning to see the first applications and solutions.

One proposal is that of Samsung, which has announced its intention to develop a method to “copy and paste” the brain on a memory chip, through the wiring map of neurons. We explain what Samsung intends and who is the team in charge of developing this provocative idea.

Moving the map of neural connections within a chip

The idea of mind uploading it is a very instructive thought experiment to reflect on the identity of the human being. But Samsung’s proposal does not speak directly of guarding a person’s mind; yes of save the map of the neural connections within a chip to obtain some of the advantages of the way our brain works.

At the moment what we have is a work published in the journal Nature Electronics with the title ‘Neuromorphic Electronics based on copy and paste the brain’, developed by Donhee Ham, member of the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), Hongkun Park, Harvard University professor, Sungwoo Hwang, CEO of Samsung SDS and Kinam Kim, VP of Samsung Electronics.

The idea is to use a new nanoelectrode array created by the company’s academics to paste the map of neural connections into a network of solid-state memories. That is, transfer the information that defines our brain to a chip, as if it were a hard drive.

As the authors describe, this memory chip would approximate the unique computing features of the brain, achieving some of its capabilities such as “ease of learning, adaptation to the environment, information processing, or low consumption.” It is precisely these characteristics that define the advantage of building chips using neuromorphic computing.

Through reverse engineering the brain, this array of nanoelectrodes would be introduced into a large number of neurons to record their electrical signals. The idea is to record intracellular connections, see how neurons connect to each other, and “register” these connections and then “copy” them to a chip.

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This information could be “stuck” in non-volatile memory such as flash drives or SSDs or in RRAM memories. Of course, the magnitude of the human brain is a challenge for such a proposal.

How much information can our brain store?

The human brain has 100,000 million neurons and about a thousand times more synaptic connections. This means that a possible neuromorphic chip in our entire brain would require about 100 trillion memories (100 trillion, in the Anglo-Saxon world). It is a number that impresses, but according to Samsung it would be possible thanks to the integration of 3D memories.

“The vision we present is very ambitious, but working towards such a heroic goal will push the limits of artificial intelligence, neuroscience and semiconductor technology,” concludes Dr. Donhee Ham.

Like Samsung, companies like Intel, IBM or HP are investing in neuromorphic computing. A discipline with great potential that could transfer to the computer world some of the ways of processing the information that our brain has.

More information | Samsung