Nature Electronics volume 4, pages 635–644 (2021 )Cite this article
Reverse engineering the brain by mimicking the structure and function of neuronal networks on a silicon integrated circuit was the original goal of neuromorphic engineering, but remains a distant prospect. The focus of neuromorphic engineering has thus been relaxed from rigorous brain mimicry to designs inspired by qualitative features of the brain, including event-driven signalling and in-memory information processing. Here we examine current approaches to neuromorphic engineering and provide a vision that returns neuromorphic electronics to its original goal of reverse engineering the brain. The essence of this vision is to ‘copy’ the functional synaptic connectivity map of a mammalian neuronal network using advanced neuroscience tools and then ‘paste’ this map onto a high-density three-dimensional network of solid-state memories. Our copy-and-paste approach could potentially lead to silicon integrated circuits that better approximate computing traits of the brain, including low power, facile learning, adaptation, and even autonomy and cognition.
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