Self-learning chip from imec composes its own music


Researchers from Leuven-based imec have a developed a new type of chip that can learn from its own experiences and compose musical notes

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Researchers at the Leuven-based research centre imec have developed a new type of chip that can learn from its experiences and compose its own music.

Traditional chips repeat tasks that the programmers installed on them. Inspired by the way the human brain works, the new chip can recognise patterns in data, and, like a child, learn to perform additional tasks by taking into account earlier experiences. According to imec, the chip is the first in the world that is capable of learning so much on its own.

The chip can, for example, compose its own music. After the researchers inputted a series of minuets into the chip, the chip learned to recognise patterns and rhythms and created its own musical notes. The music, which still strongly resembles the original minuets, can be heard on imec’s website.

The new chip is based on advanced memory chip technology, known as OxRAM, capable of processing a lot of information at low energy and low cost. According to imec, self-learning chips could be used in the management of large data flows, like road traffic analysis, and healthcare.

“When used in heart sensors, self-learning chips can identify subtle changes in heart rate that may pose potential health risks,” said imec in a statement. “This would enable health monitoring that is tailored to individual patients.”


Leuven-based imec is a world-leading nanotechnology and nanoelectronics research centre. Its main research areas are ICT, health care and energy.
Origins - Imec was established as an independent but Flemish government-backed research centre for microelectronics in 1984.
International - While its headquarters are in Leuven, imec has offices in the US, the Netherlands, Taiwan, China, India and Japan.
Clean room - Imec boasts two cleanrooms – dust-free labs to develop computer chips – and is developing a third.

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