A Chip That Digests Data and Calculates the Odds

Complex as they may seem, traditional computers deal in a simple art. They rely on tiny switches that turn on and off, producing the streams of ones and zeros that software eventually translates into something meaningful to a human.

Lyric Semiconductor, a start-up that emerged from work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, looks to forgo this certainty in favor of probability. It unveiled plans this week to build a chip that can compute likelihoods. Such technology may help figure out which book someone will want to buy on or help create a better gene-sequencing machine.

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