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Using electricity to discover materials that may learn shocked the system

Scientists are looking at different nonbiological materials that could be tailored to show evidence of learning-like behaviors to create new generation of supercomputers.

Researchers have used the Advanced Photon Source at DOE's Argonne National Laboratory to study the behavior of oxygen deficient nickel oxide.

The scientists noticed that the material's resistance increased after the initial jolt, but soon became accustomed to the electric stimulus. When a larger dose of electricity was administered, the material's response grew instead of diminishing over time.

The two behaviors of electrons in a material are controlled by quantum interactions, which can be tipped one way or another by small stimuli.

Ramanathan said that using quantum properties to get intelligence into hardware represents a key step towards energy-efficient computing.

Scientists can create a material that can habituate, to help artificial intelligence algorithms avoid forgetting information, while sensitization, can help them remember and incorporate new information, enabling plasticity.

The new study involved a single junction system of nickel oxide, which was the smallest system to date to show these properties.

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