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Army patents neural chip design for quantum internet

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A team lead by US Army researchers has been granted a patent on a new chip design that offers radically faster processing speeds and could form the basis for quantum computing systems in the future.

Ron Meyers, a quantum physicist with the US Army Research Laboratory, told The Register that the new chip design is capable of dealing with processes involving multiple function switching much more quickly than standard computing hardware.

"It can deal with function shifts that aren’t smooth," he explained. "When functions change quickly, ordinary computers don’t do well. The new chip is designed to avoid that and take advantage of non-Lipschitz functions."

This kind of processing is proving highly useful in using computing to figure out the human body, since neurons and synapses are also highly developed to deal with rapidly switching functions. The team successfully used the computing system to model human heartbeats by mimicking the effects of the human tissue and predicting which heart was more damaged based on its actions.

"With the physics and processes in biology, we think mathematics doesn't represent that very well," he said. "With this system, we can better model synapses and neurons, and it turns out non-linear math explains the heartbeat pretty well."

The Army had patented the chip design so that it is covered against licensing costs as it develops the technology for its own purposes, but there is no reason why this could not be licensed out for the greater good, he said. The internet itself was born of a similar policy with the opening up of its precursor, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET.)

As the technology develops, the new chip designs could be used in a variety of systems for monitoring human well-being - both on the battle field and off. They could also form the basis for some quantum systems currently being developed.

"We think this will evolve to help bring forward the coming quantum internet, a smarter, faster internet," Meyers concluded. ®

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