Towards a 'siliconeural computer': technological successes and challenges

Mark A Hughes, Michael Shipston, Alan F Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electronic signals govern the function of both nervous systems and computers, albeit in different ways. As such, hybridizing both systems to create an iono-electric brain-computer interface is a realistic goal; and one that promises exciting advances in both heterotic computing and neuroprosthetics capable of circumventing devastating neuropathology. 'Neural networks' were, in the 1980s, viewed naively as a potential panacea for all computational problems that did not fit well with conventional computing. The field bifurcated during the 1990s into a highly successful and much more realistic machine learning community and an equally pragmatic, biologically oriented 'neuromorphic computing' community. Algorithms found in nature that use the non-synchronous, spiking nature of neuronal signals have been found to be (i) implementable efficiently in silicon and (ii) computationally useful. As a result, interest has grown in techniques that could create mixed 'siliconeural' computers. Here, we discuss potential approaches and focus on one particular platform using parylene-patterned silicon dioxide.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophical Transactions A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2046
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2015


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