American and Japanese researchers have created “nanoionic” devices which, connected with fast ion transport in all-solid-state nanoscale systems, are capable of a broad range of neuromorphic and electrical functions. “Synaptic devices that mimic the learning and memory processes in living organisms are attracting interest as an alternative to standard computing elements to help extend performance beyond current physical limits. However, artificial synaptic systems have been hampered by complex fabrication requirements and limitations in the learning and memory functions they mimic.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Rather than following the computational model of current computer circuitry, nanoionic devices would mimic the brain’s natural processing abilities which are far more complex and powerful than any computers of similar size. “Such a device would allow for fabrication of on-demand configurable circuits, analog memories, and digital-neural fused networks in a single device architecture. … The researchers noted that the device properties—volatile and non-volatile states and current fading following positive voltage pulses—are similar to neural behavior—that is, short- and long-term memory and forgetting processes.”