Networks of Nanowires Learn and Retain Information Like a Human Brain

Researchers from the University of Sydney and other institutions have shown that nanowire networks can function like the human brain’s short- and long-term memory.

The study, conducted by Dr. Alon Loeffler, who earned his PhD in the School of Physics, and its Japanese collaborators, was published today in the journal Science Advances.

According to Dr. Loeffler’s research, non-biological technology can simulate higher-order cognitive function, which is typically associated with the human brain.

This research expands on our earlier work, which demonstrated how nanotechnology might be utilized to create an electrical device that was inspired by the brain, complete with neural network-like circuitry and synapse-like signaling.

“Our current work suggests that the underlying nature of brain-like intelligence may be physical and paves the way towards replicating brain-like learning and memory in non-biological hardware systems.”

Nanowire networks are a subset of nanotechnology that are often constructed from sparsely spaced, highly conductive, invisible to the naked eye, microscopic silver wires that are wrapped in a plastic material. Aspects of the networked physical structure of the human brain are modeled by the wires.

Numerous practical applications, such as upgrading robots or sensing systems that must make quick decisions in unexpected surroundings, could be ushered in by advancements in nanowire networks.

Networks of nanowires Learn and retain information like a human brain

According to senior author Professor Zdenka Kuncic of the School of Physics, “This nanowire network is like a synthetic neural network because the nanowires act like neurons and the locations where they connect with each other are analogous to synapses.”

Dr. Loeffler has really gone a step further in this study and tried to show that nanowire networks exhibit some sort of cognitive function, rather than simply using some sort of machine learning challenge.

The N-Back task, a common memory test used in studies on human psychology, was employed by the researchers to examine the capabilities of the nanowire network.

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