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NIST Creates Superconducting Switch to Help Build ‘Brain-Like’ Computers

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has created a superconducting switch to support the development of “neuromorphic” computers that would operate like a human brain.

NIST said Friday the switch, called a synapse, is designed to connect processors and store memories of neuromorphic systems.

Neuromorphic computers are envisioned to improve perception and decision-making for various uses, including self-driving cars and cancer diagnosis.

The artificial synapse works to operate faster and use less energy than the human synapses that connect brain cells.

NIST’s synapse could be used in neuromorphic computers made of superconducting components, which provide more efficient data transmission and storage than semiconductor- or software-based devices.

The human brain processes data both in sequence and simultaneously and stores memories in synapses across the brain, while conventional computers only process data in sequence and stores them in a separate system.

NIST researchers believe the new synapse could lead to the creation of a “more complex” neuromorphic computer than has been developed using other technologies.

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