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6 May 2014  |  maldomao   BREVE         

Qualcomm se interesa por la computación neuromórfica

Un buen artículo de Technology Review sobre el cercano protagonismo de los chips neuromórficos estudia el caso de Qualcomm; que tiene intenciones de incorporarlos en sus sistemas para dispositivos móviles. Así que este tipo de computación que rompe totalmente con la arquitectura tradicional puede estar en el mercado mucho antes de lo que esperaba.

Qualcomm’s Neuromorphic Chips Could Make Robots and Phones More Astute About the World | MIT Technology Review

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Qualcomm could add a “neural processing unit” to mobile-phone chips to handle sensory data and tasks such as image recognition.

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Qualcomm’s chips won’t become available until next year at the earliest; the company will spend 2014 signing up researchers to try out the technology. But if it delivers, the project—known as the Zeroth program—would be the first large-scale commercial platform for neuromorphic computing.

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As a commercial company, Qualcomm has opted for pragmatism over sheer performance in its design. That means the neuromorphic chips it’s developing are still digital chips, which are more predictable and easier to manufacture than analog ones. And instead of modeling the chips as closely as possible on actual brain biology, Qualcomm’s project emulates aspects of the brain’s behavior. For instance, the chips encode and transmit data in a way that mimics the electrical spikes generated in the brain as it responds to sensory information. “Even with this digital representation, we can reproduce a huge range of behaviors we see in biology,” says M. Anthony Lewis, the project engineer for Zeroth.

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Qualcomm is especially interested in the possibility that neuromorphic chips could transform smartphones and other mobile devices into cognitive companions that pay attention to your actions and surroundings and learn your habits over time. “If you and your device can perceive the environment in the same way, your device will be better able to understand your intentions and anticipate your needs,” says Samir Kumar, a business development director at Qualcomm’s research lab.

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