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This work presents a new VLSI model for biological neural systems, a unified research tool for neuro- as well as computer science. It allows construction of neural microcircuits close to the biological specimen while maintaining a speed several orders faster than real time. The synapse model includes an implementation of spike time dependent plasticity (STDP). Therefore, the VLSI system allows the investigation of key aspects of plasticity without a speed penalty. Additionally, this system is a research tool for new concepts of information processing like liquid or any-time computing. The analog, continuous-time operation of the neuron is implemented in a contemporary deep-submicron process technology. Thereby it realizes a powerful computing system that is not based on the Turing paradigm.