IBM is working with the US government to create electronic circuits that mimic the brain.

The project has been made possible by a $4.9m (£3.27m) grant from US defence agency DARPA.

It is developing an area called "cognitive computing", and, according to the BBC, will bring together neurobiologists, computer and materials scientists and psychologists.

"The mind has an amazing ability to integrate ambiguous information across the senses, and it can effortlessly create the categories of time, space, object, and interrelationship from the sensory data", Dharmendra Modha, the IBM scientist who is heading the collaboration, told the Beeb.

"There are no computers that can even remotely approach the remarkable feats the mind performs", he said.

"The key idea of cognitive computing is to engineer mind-like intelligent machines by reverse engineering the structure, dynamics, function and behaviour of the brain."

The team, whihch includes researchers at five universities, have the long-term goal of creating a system with the level of complexity of a cat's brain.