Micro-Modular Neural Network Background Artificial neural networks are an interesting field of information processing systems.

Artificial neural networks can be created as computer simulations or as real circuits. Creating neural networks as computer simulations is relatively quick which is advantageous because a large number of neural networks can be easily created and tested. Unfortunately simulations of artificial neural networks suffer from two problems: a) they are only a rough approximation of a real neural network; and b) simulations are not scalable, i.e. as more nodes are added to the simulation, the computing time rises rapidly. Creating neural networks with real circuits has the advantages of being real (i.e. not an approximation) and being scalable. The disadvantage with real neural networks is the difficulty of in building them. The difficulty in building real neural networks can be overcome by using programmable circuitry (e.g. FPGA). However, programmable logic also suffers two scalability issues. Firstly, adding more nodes to programmable logic increases the amount of programming circuitry necessary. Secondly, programmable circuits are limited to micro chip size. What is needed is a method of building non-simulated artificial neural networks that is reasonable simple and scalable. Introduction The basic idea is a system of building neural networks with an array of modules or blocks. Each block contains basic circuitry which a) communicates input and output signals to adjacent modules; and b) performs basic information processing operations on the inputs to form the outputs. A 2d array of modules is made by photolithography, etching and deposition on a thin film. The thin film is broken into the individual modules. The separated modules are then packed together into a 3d array which forms a neural network. The modules are to be made on the micrometre scale, approximately 50 to 100µm in diameter. A large number of modules of this size can be packed into a relatively small space. So for example, one million 100µm diameter modules fit in 1cm3, 1 billion in a 10 cm3, etc. Challenges Although the idea is simple, there are many problems that need to be solved to make it possible. I discuss some of the challenges below.

My idea is to use a 3D cross shape or an extruded cross shape. It also means that they can be used in any orientation. manipulate and stack. This means they are all the same size and shape. The modules would connect simply be being pressed surface-to-surface.Module shape The modules must be made in a shape that is easy to manufacture. The radiating arms of the cross shape help to accurately position and stack the modules. manipulating and accurately positioning the cube modules would be difficult. The simplest form to manufacture and stack is a cubic arrangement. Module construction I envision that the modules would be made using thin-film semiconductor techniques. The modules are preferably interchangeable. What is needed is a way of quickly stacking the modules. The 3D cross shaped modules could be made in the following way:  Make cube shape modules with soluble regions  Vapour deposit metal over all exposed surfaces  Dissolve soluble regions (thus ‘undermining’ the metal layer in some areas)  Any metal layer not attached to the remaining structure will readily break and fall off a) vapour metal deposited b) soluble regions dissolved The electrode on each face would be a flat surface of metal. Constructing electrodes on all 6 faces of the module may be difficult. However. .

Interface circuitry The modules are to be made so they can be placed anywhere in the neural network. The wireless power would be provided by a high frequency magnetic field. input/output splitting circuit Power source The power to the electronic circuit in each module could be provided wirelessly. Each of the 6 outermost faces of the modules would have a single electrode and use an electrical circuit to split electrical signals into an input and an output. the 3D array of modules could then be compressed to ensure good electrical contact between modules. Because the tuned circuits are resonating they would relay power from one module to the next.Module alignment The cross shaped modules would be dropped over an array of columns. The columns could then be slid out after the modules are stacked. Each module would have a simple resonant circuit tuned to the magnetic field. The columns act to align the crosses as they fall into place. The resulting 3D module array would be porous which would allow gas or liquid to flow and cool the network if necessary. In one embodiment the inductor is made of superconducting material which provides superior magnetic field transmitting and receiving properties (but obviously there are many difficulties in cooling a circuit to low temperatures). wireless power receiving circuit .

To form a neural network.halfbakery. even small amounts of dust could clog the stack of modules. at the microscopic scale the modules may have a tendency to electrostatically stick to the columns rather than slide down them. a digital module could contain an AND circuit while an analogue module could contain a summing amplifier.com/idea/Modular_20neural_20network#11795 79418  http://www. One simple way of deconstructing and sorting a neural network would be to make the different module types of different density. for example. The neuron type module would act to combine several signal inputs.com/idea/Recognising_20artificial_20intelligen ce#1212792229 . Thus it would be preferable if the modules could be reused. This circuit could be digital or analogue. The design of neural circuits would probably be an iterative process (such as a genetic algorithm). In this way. Schematic circuit of neuron module Schematic circuit of dendrite module connecting the modules Although manufacturing the modules would be difficult. Some difficulties may arise in the process. electrical connections between neurons would strengthen with use (in an analogous way that a brain learns). so for example. In a preferred embodiment there would be two types of module circuit: 1) a ‘neuron’ type and 2) a ‘dendrite’ type. The modules would be dropped over the alignment columns. I have posted and discussed this idea online at the following URLs:  http://www. while the dendrite type module would act as communication channels which would electrically connect up the neuron type modules. Cleanliness would obviously be another problem.halfbakery. This could be overcome by.halfbakery. The dendrite could be made of ‘memristor’ material. giving the columns the same electrostatic charge as the modules. the collection of modules would be placed in a liquid where one module type would float while the other would sink.com/idea/Notes_20on_20Modular_20Neural_2 0Networks#1209601967  http://www.Module circuit Inside each module would be a circuit which performs a function upon the inputs to create an output(s). Further remarks I see this idea as a good platform for investigating neural networks. and slide into a neatly stacked arrangement. the advantage of the idea is the ease in which the modules can be connected. For example. there would need to be several different types of module circuit.

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