A team of researchers from the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea have developed an artificial synaptic device, which mimics synapses, a structure present in neurons in the brain, a statement by the institute said.
The device simulates the function of synapses, particularly those involving memory, the blog post stated.
Synapses allow the brain to send and receive nerve signals. A human brain contains hundreds of trillions of synapses.
The device was created by a team led by Director Myoung-Jae Lee from the institute’s Intelligent Devices and Systems Research Group.
Other research teams led by Professor Gyeong-Su Park from Seoul National University; Professor Sung Kyu Park from Chung-ang University; and Professor Hyunsang Hwang from POSTEC also participated in developing the device.
The research team also successfully carried out an experiment to test synapse plasticity in the device. This involved creating, storing and deleting memories, such as the ability to strengthen and suppress long-term memories by adjusting the strength of the synapse connection between neurons.
The device was created using tantalum oxide, a trans-metallic material compound, and by structuring it into two layers. The level of the compound in the device can be increased or decreased depending on the strength of the electrical signals. It was also found that tantalum oxide has a high level of durability, the blog post stated.
The data storage method used by the team allows the device to pool large data in a small area and to consume less power.
The artificial synaptic device can be used in ultra-low-power devices or circuits for processing massive amounts of big data. The device can be used to develop next-generation intelligent semiconductor technologies involved in artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning.
“This research secured the reliability of existing artificial synaptic devices and improved the areas pointed out as disadvantages. We expect to contribute to the development of AI based on the neuromorphic system that mimics the human brain by creating a circuit that imitates the function of neurons," Lee said in the statement.