University of Memphis
Taking a step toward a machine that can think
Taking a step toward a machine that can think

Jim Gimzewski grabs a silicon wafer with a pair of tweezers and raises it to the light, thinking about Jackson Pollock, snowflakes and Tibetan mandalas. No bigger than a quarter, the wafer looks like a small circuit board with a dozen or so electrodes converging at a darkened center, which under a microscope is an ugly tangle of wires randomly crisscrossed and interwoven like hairs in a tiny dust ball. He places it inside a box the size of a mini-fridge. He closes the lid, and one of his graduate students, Henry Sillin, begins to run electricity into the box. A nearby monitor shows a sine-wave. The dust ball, messy and anarchic as it is, has come to life. Gimzewski is one step closer...