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February 21, 1993


By CBR Staff Writer

If neural networks are ever to become more than a lab curiosity with the odd exotic application in the real world, Intel Corp’s new Ni1000 chip, developed with Providence, Rhode Island-based Nestor Inc (CI No 2,110) should provide the breakthrough. In contrast to Intel’s first neural network chip, the 80170NX, which had an analogue design, the Ni1000 is all digital, and integrates 1,024 neurons with a large block of Flash memory for storing learned patterns on-chip and a 16-bit microcontroller to handle the learning application. It has a standard microprocessor bus interface, and is claimed to execute 20G-operations per second, so that it can recognise thousands of text characters a second compared with 10 to 100 per second for a personal computer running character recognition software. The Ni1000 can be combined with a personal computer for fast character recognition, Intel says. It was developed with grants of $1.2m from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, $400,000 from the US Office of Naval Research. It is sampling now; no prices.

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