Why IBM announced its high-end “brain like” chips

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Focused on designing high-end chips

After divesting its manufacturing business, IBM (IBM) appears to be in a better position to focus on high-end servers, super computers, and technology research.

In its 3Q14 release, IBM’s CEO stated that the company is still focused on cloud, mobile, analytics, and other high-growth technologies.

In July 2014, IBM announced plans to spend $3 billion in these high-growth areas. It will focus on fundamental semiconductor research. It will also develop high-growth areas. It wants to develop quantum computers and cognitive systems that have the ability to think and function like the human brain.

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If IBM posts good earnings in the future, it will benefit the NASDAQ Technology Dividend Index Fund (TDIV), the Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA), the iShares U.S. Technology ETF (IYW), and the VanEck Vectors Wide Moat Research ETF (MOAT). These exchange-traded funds (or ETFs) have high exposure to the company.

BRAIN CHIP

“Brain like” chip announced for “big data”

In August 2014, IBM showed its brain-like computer chips—TrueNorth. It’s the size of a postage stamp. It has the capacity to process huge amounts of data while handling inputs from various sources.

IBM stated that its brain like chips could process data in real time. This makes it different from the current chips. The chip is designed for energy efficiency. It consumes energy equivalent to a hearing aid.

IBM claims varied usage of its brain like chips

TrueNorth has 4,096 processor cores that can emulate one million human neurons and 256 million synapses. These neurons and synapses are two of the fundamental biological building blocks that make up the human brain. In IBM’s terminology, they’re called “spiking neurons.”

The chips can encode data as patterns of pulses. The patterns can be compared to how the brain stores information. This is a big step. Progress has been made investigating chip materials beyond silicon.

IBM wants to integrate multi-sensory processing into mobile devices. It claims that this chip has the potential to be used in advanced memory, 3G integration, logic, and sensor technologies.

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