After having created a supercomputer capable of hanging with Jeopardy’s finest, IBM has now taken another step toward human-like artificial intelligence, with an experimental chip designed to function like a real brain. Developed as part of aDARPA project called SyNAPSE (Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics), IBM’s so-called “neurosynaptic computing chip” features a silicon core capable of digitally replicating the brain’s neurons, synapses and axons. To achieve this, researchers took a dramatic departure from the conventional von Neumann computer architecture, which links internal memory and a processor with a single data channel. This structure allows for data to be transmitted at high, but limited rates, and isn’t especially power efficient — especially for more sophisticated, scaled-up systems. Instead, IBM integrated memory directly within its processors, wedding hardware with software in a design that more closely resembles the brain’s cognitive structure. This severely limits data transfer speeds, but allows the system to execute multiple processes in parallel (much like humans do), while minimizing power usage. IBM’s two prototypes have already demonstrated the ability to navigate, recognize patterns and classify objects, though the long-term goal is to create a smaller, low-power chip that can analyze more complex data and, yes, learn. Scurry past the break for some videos from IBM’s researchers, along with the full press release.