Powerful computers made up of physically separate modules, self-organising networks, and computing inspired by biological systems are three hot research topics coming together in one European project.
European researchers have developed an innovative computing platform. At the heart of the system are many small modules, each made from chips with an inbuilt ability to learn. A self-configuring wireless network connects the modules, allowing them to operate as a coherent group.
Evolving to suit the task in hand and acting on information about their environment, such systems are described by their developers as “bio-inspired.” They are well suited to building mathematical models of scientific problems in which complexity arises from simple building blocks, such as in brains, stock markets, and the spread of new ideas.
Researchers already use programs that can learn — neural networks — to study problems like these. Their simulations would run faster if they could hard-wire instructions into computer chips rather than load them as software, but normally this would stop the machines from learning. Chips that learn by physically reconfiguring themselves therefore offer the best of both worlds. Continue reading.