Scientists have come up with proton resistors for an artificial
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Scientists have come up with proton resistors for an artificial brain – they are millions of times faster than neurons in the human head

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology replacement found Silicon transistors to create a new generation of powerful artificial intelligence and machine learning processors. Using simple and affordable compounds of phosphorus and silicon, scientists have created analog logic elements that operate much faster than silicon transistors and millions of times faster than synapses in the human brain.

    Image Credit: Ella Maru Studio, Murat Onen/MIT

Image Credit: Ella Maru Studio, Murat Onen/MIT

The comparison with the brain is no coincidence. The neurons in the complex can be quite large, while the new logic elements – proton resistors – can be thousands of times smaller. It will be possible to fit such a powerful analog processor into the volume of the brain that by modern standards it is unimaginable. However, many more discoveries still need to be made for this, although the main thing – the basic element – scientists have already invented.

A proton resistor is an isolated area of ​​oxide into which a specified number of protons are driven with a strong electromagnetic field. The field is applied to the limit on the protons, which scientists say can almost “burn up” the material. In practice, this voltage is about 10 V applied across a film several nanometers thick. The highest field strength in the smallest volume causes the protons to literally “teleport” into the resistance area or back again if the polarity is reversed. This results in a nanosecond-level speed of operation that is much faster than the speed of brain neurons.

Since any number of protons can be conditionally driven into the resistance region, you can simply set the weighting coefficients for each of them, eliminating the need for a lengthy neural network training process. A neural network in the volume of such an analog processor is created almost instantly, which is very important for practical work. Also, in the form of an array of resistors, the processor works as usual, only the data during processing does not need to be moved between the processor and memory, which also speeds up processing and saves on consumption, since no data is sent outside the processor .

Protons as “fillers” of resistors were not chosen at random. Proton carriers are a solid electrolyte in the form of the popular inorganic substance phosphosilicate glass (PSG). It is compatible and available with silicone. It also serves as an insulator for the electrons, isolating the resistive areas from electrical current by providing conductivity for the protons. The main achievement of the discovery was the use of phosphosilicate glass in the structure of the proton resistor, which gave it all the wonderful properties that scientists reported. Manufacturing process, architecture and operating voltage ranges still have to be developed, which the scientists will address in the following studies.

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Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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