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Brain power

A light bulb with a brain as the filament

Human brains are pretty impressive computing beasts – they are still more powerful than any computer on the planet. Despite that they are pretty energy efficient too. Your brain uses only 12W of power (compare that say with a normal 60W lightbulb – it’s pretty eco-good). Modern compute-servers, used by search engines to store all the data they use to make web searches fast, have about as many basic computing components as there are neurons in the brain. They ought to be able to be similarly efficient you might think. In fact they use megawatts of power – that’s getting on for a million times more power hungry.

There are clearly still some tricks that computer designers could learn from evolution about making machines super-efficient!