At IBM Zurich told how the "electronic blood"

    IBM continues to experiment with technologies that resemble the principles of the human brain. Earlier it was reported about chips for a neurocomputer with silicon analogues of neurons and synapses, as well as about simulating the work of the human brain using such chips.

    Last week, IBM organized a press tour of the laboratories of the IBM Zurich research center , where the main research in the field of “cognitive systems” is concentrated. This is work on computers of the distant future, with petaflops performance, capable of not only executing programmed commands, but also perceiving the surrounding reality, making judgments, communicating in a natural human language and learning from experience.

    The goal of IBM is to create a compact computer with a capacity of 1 petaflops over the next decades, solving problems with the density of the packaging of microcircuits and cooling.

    The well-known IBM Watson, which already makes diagnoses statistically more accurate than live doctors , is the first step in the era of cognitive systems. But the main problems that stand in this way are energy efficiency and compactness of the supercomputers of the future. Matthias Kaiserswerth, director of IBM Zurich, explained that no modern computing machine can even be compared in terms of power and energy efficiency to the human brain.

    And if you catch the brain in computing power - a relatively simple task, the question is only in the number of processors, then no one can even imagine how a digital machine can compare with it in energy efficiency. Matthias Kaiservert said that Watson consumes 85 kW and the human brain only 20 W. Biological design also wins in terms of packing density.

    To increase density, IBM suggests using the 3D architecture shown in the illustration. The processors are stacked and placed on motherboards, which are also then stacked.

    The aforementioned “electronic blood” is an IBM conceptual experiment theoretically capable of solving two problems at once: cooling the computer and delivering power to the chips. As in the human brain, both of these tasks can be solved using liquid electrolyte.

    Liquid cooling of chips is already a proven technology; there are chip models even with integrated cooling tubes.

    It is much more interesting how the same liquid will supply the chips with energy. IBM experts explain that they are using a redox reaction. Vanadium-based liquid electrolytes receive negative and positive charges on the electrodes - and are sent through a thin network of capillaries to the processor, where they give off charge and at the same time cool the chips.

    At the moment, the installation is capable of transmitting up to 1 watt of energy per square centimeter.

    By the way, the IBM Zurich division collaborates with the European scientific project Human Brain Project and promises to equip scientists with the equipment to create the most accurate simulation of the human brain.

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