According to JIN Xiaofei, a key researcher behind this development, the “Darwin II chip” used in the machine came out only last year. It can emulate the structural and functional mechanism of the brain’s neural network, with every chip simulating around 150,000 neurons. In comparison with traditional chips, it is more adept at processing large quantities of ambiguous data, such as the ones commonly used in image recognition, visual and audio comprehension and language processing.
Energy consumption is relatively low, as when information is transmitted, only neurons that receive and process the signals are activated, while other neurons stay dormant, similar to how a brain works. The three 1.6-meter-tall machine requires only 350 to 500 watts to operate. In a demonstration, Darwin Mouse was capable of running multiple small robots in a flood rescue scenario. The robots worked as a team while simultaneously processing multiple intelligent tasks such as speech recognition, target detection and path planning. It is expected that neuromorphic computers will achieve more powerful applications of artificial intelligence with significantly less energy use in the future.
China Daily news release, September 7, 2020