A New Path to AI Mastery: Nanomagnets Discern Wine with Low Energy Consumption

Nanomagnets could quench AI’s thirst for power

The brain processes a lot of data. Wine lovers’ brains are flooded with data when they taste new wines. The synapses of their neurons fire and weigh the importance of every bit of information–acidity or fruitiness or bitterness- before passing it on to the next layer. The brain sorts out the wine type as information is passed along.

Scientists are also interested in making AI systems sophisticated data analysts, so they create computerized versions of neural networks that process and analyze information. AI has caught up with the human brain on many tasks. However, it consumes more energy. The average brain consumes 20 watts to make these calculations. A system with AI can consume thousands of times more power. The hardware can also be sluggish, which makes AI less efficient, less effective, and slower than our brains. AI researchers are looking at less energy-intensive options.

In a recent study, published in Physical Review Applied by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, researchers at NIST and their collaborators developed a new hardware type for AI. It could operate faster and use less energy, and it’s already passed a virtual test of wine tasting.