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Projects Seek to Develop New Approaches to Computing Modeled on the Human Brain

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $2 million in funding for five projects in basic research to advance neuromorphic computing. 

Neuromorphic computing encompasses a range of different approaches to computing software and hardware that seek to mimic the neuron and synapse structure of the human brain.  It holds out the promise of both potentially more powerful and sophisticated problem-solving as well as more energy-efficient computing.

As a computational system, the human brain is not only uniquely complex but also roughly a million times more energy-efficient than the most advanced supercomputers in existence today.

“As powerful as the coming generation of exascale computers may be, it is difficult to match the human brain in sophistication of information processing and energy efficiency,” said Dr. Chris Fall, Director of the DOE Office of Science.  “Neuromorphic computing offers an important pathway worth exploring as we move toward an era beyond exascale and beyond Moore’s Law.”

The current initiative will support high-risk, high-reward research aimed at developing brain-inspired neuromorphic computing software tools and techniques as well as energy-efficient hardware.  The aim is to create computing environments that will help accelerate scientific research while advancing the development of neuromorphic approaches to computation.

Projects were chosen by competitive peer review under DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement, “Neuromorphic Computing for Accelerating Scientific Discovery,” sponsored by the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) within DOE’s Office of Science.

Funding totals $2 million in Fiscal Year 2020 dollars for projects lasting two years in duration.

A list of awards can be found on the ASCR homepage under the heading, “What’s New.”