‘Brain-like device’ mimics human learning in major computing breakthrough

Scientists have developed a device modelled on the human brain that can learn by association in the same way as Pavlov’s dog.

In the famous experiment, Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov conditioned a dog to associate a bell with food. In order to replicate this way of learning, researchers from Northwestern University in the US and the University of Hong Kong developed so-called “synaptic transistors” capable of simultaneously processing and storing information in the same way as a brain.

Instead of a bell and food, the researchers conditioned the circuit to associate light with pressure by pulsing an LED lightbulb and then immediately applying pressure with a finger press.

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