U-M researchers are developing a new type of electronic switch that mimics the behavior of a biological neuron in the human brain, which is able to perform complex tasks much more efficiently than regular computers. Like brains, these computers would be able to reach beyond their local neighborhood to establish connections, and grow stronger connections the more they are used.
Rather than being based on a separation of memory and CPU as traditional computers, this new computing architecture would allow computations to happen all over the design. These artificial synapses would be created through “memristors” built through nanotechnology that can be used to connect a large number of processes, thereby creating a type of computer that can learn without being programmed.
ABOUT THE PROFESSOR: Wei Lu is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan College of Engineering. His research interests include nanoelectronics, memory (RRAM) and logic circuits based on two-terminal resistive switches (memristors), nanowires and novel transistor devices, electrical transport in low-dimensional systems, nanoelectromechanical systems.