backtop


Print 22 comment(s) - last by AnnihilatorX.. on Nov 26 at 6:00 AM


  (Source: ICanHasCheezBurger)
Leading neuroscientist accuses government-funded researcher of deception

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the premier funding branch of the Pentagon, has poured $5M USD into a project with IBM to make electronics that mimic the "size, function, and power consumption" of a cat brain.  And last week, it appeared that a major breakthrough had been made with IBM’s lead researcher on the project, Dharmendra Modha, claiming to have simulated all the neurons and synapses of the cat brain on a supercomputer.

Now the accuracy of that claim and the validity of the project is being called into question.  Henry Markham, a leading neuroscientist blasted the project and Mr. Modha's claims calling them a "hoax".  Ironically, Mr. Markham also works on a project affiliated with IBM, dubbed "Blue Brain".  He complains that Mr. Modha simply put together a "PR stunt here to ride on Blue Brain.”

He describes in an open letter to Bernard Myerson, IBM’s Chief Technology Officer, "What IBM reported is a scam - no where near a cat-scale brain simulation.  I am absolutely shocked at this announcement. Not because it is any kind of technical feat, but because of the mass deception of the public."

He continues:

All these kinds of simulations are trivial and have been around for decades - simply called artificial neural network (ANN) simulations. We even stooped to doing these kinds of simulations as bench mark tests 4 years ago with 10’s of millions of such points… If we (or anyone else) wanted to we could easily do this for a billion “points”, but we would certainly not call it a cat-scale simulation. It is really no big deal to simulate a billion points interacting if you have a big enough computer. The only step here is that they have at their disposal a big computer. For a grown up “researcher” to get excited because one can simulate billions of points interacting is ludicrous.
This is light years away from a cat brain, not even close to an ants brain in complexity. It is highly unethical of Mohda to mislead the public in making people believe they have actually simulated a cat’s brain…. That IBM and DARPA would support such deceptive announcements is even more shocking.

Mr. Modha had claimed last week that his simulation of a billion neurons and 10 trillion neural synapses on IBM hardware was roughly the equivalent of a cat brain.  His colleagues lauded the accomplishment, with some comparing his work to the magnitude of work done on the Large Hadron Collider project.

Mr. Myerson's criticism is diverse.  Among other things he says that the point representation of neurons are incomplete as they don't simulate the complex effects of ion channels or more complex phenomena like neuronal branching. 

He says the "brain" developed isn't even as complex as an ant brain and is hardly praise worthy.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Brain science
By uibo on 11/24/2009 9:53:10 AM , Rating: 1
I really doubt we could simulate a real brain any time soon. You can't teach it personality, instincts etc because we dont know what these things really are?
And how do our brains know how to decode the information coming from our senses? Nobody teaches us to see - could there be some sort of genetic memory involved?




RE: Brain science
By Motoman on 11/24/2009 11:29:53 AM , Rating: 1
You see because you are born with organs that do that. You see for the same reason that you breathe, eat, and poop. Your brain processes the information it gets in the way that it does because that's the way the human animal evolved. No need to start invoking arcane magicks like "genetic memory."


RE: Brain science
By SoCalBoomer on 11/24/2009 2:36:49 PM , Rating: 2
We see because that's what eyeballs do - no genetic memory there. It's physical function.

Visual Recognition, on the other hand, is learned. We have to learn what a square is, what a circle is, how a circle is different from an orange - and which is good to eat. . .

Seeing != decoding the visual information.


RE: Brain science
By uibo on 11/24/2009 4:04:36 PM , Rating: 2
You missed it sort of.

Why should a brain do anything with the first impulses it receives from the eyes?
Why would it assume that the impulses represent the surrounding environment?

Why/how do different brain regions develop and could you program it into a artificial neural network. For me the "function" part of their claim seems impossible.


RE: Brain science
By acronos on 11/25/2009 3:23:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why should a brain do anything with the first impulses it receives from the eyes?
Why would it assume that the impulses represent the surrounding environment?


And how does a thermostat know to turn on and off the air conditioner? Why should it do anything with the first impulses it receives from thermister? Why would it assume that the impulses represent the surrounding environment?

Why do you assume that just because you are talking about something attached to a human body, that it has all of the personality and characteristics in and of itself of a full blown human?


RE: Brain science
By uibo on 11/25/2009 3:50:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And how does a thermostat know to turn on and off the air conditioner? Why should it do anything with the first impulses it receives from thermister? Why would it assume that the impulses represent the surrounding environment?


Obviously an air conditioner is a system designed knowing all its parts and how they "interact" with each other in advance. Brain science is in its infancy. Can we design anything functional?

quote:
Why do you assume that just because you are talking about something attached to a human body, that it has all of the personality and characteristics in and of itself of a full blown human?


I did not mention humans.
I do not believe in spirits, souls, ghosts, god, afterlife.
The article said:
quote:
mimic the "size, function , and power consumption" of a cat brain

I do believe that what we define as a "personality" is a product of brain function.


RE: Brain science
By chagrinnin on 11/25/2009 5:00:39 PM , Rating: 2
Wait,...my cat has a poop organ!?


RE: Brain science
By AnnihilatorX on 11/26/2009 6:00:47 AM , Rating: 2
"function" in brains evolves as the animal grows.
The basic structure for processing visual, auditory information, etc are genetically coded. How to process them is by evolving the connection of neurons at these inlets. Impulses promote neuron growth in vicinity in a random fashion until a structured output (organised information) is obtained. The brain has to learn to optimise and extract information from this organisation of data. This is also how self-learning artificial neuron network works, basically organise data output and produce different patterns depending on inputs.


was anyone else thinking it?
By fezzik1620 on 11/24/2009 8:01:28 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
...simply called artificial neural network (ANN) simulations.


quote:
My CPU is a Neural Net processor, a learning computer.
-The Terminator




RE: was anyone else thinking it?
By AlexWade on 11/24/2009 8:07:25 AM , Rating: 5
Actually, I was thinking of some bad jokes ...

If computers start having a cat-like brain, how will it react to my mouse?

Does this mean that my computer will sleep all day?


RE: was anyone else thinking it?
By grath on 11/24/2009 11:48:42 AM , Rating: 3
Imagine coming home and its spit all the paper out of your printer like a bathroom floor full of unrolled toilet paper.

Or the bad habit of chewing on its own cords?

And if computers were as cunning, devious, and self sufficient as my cat is, wed all be in trouble.


sliderules at dawn?
By kattanna on 11/24/2009 11:02:37 AM , Rating: 2
what happens when 2 scientists fight?




RE: sliderules at dawn?
By grath on 11/24/2009 12:14:03 PM , Rating: 3
Science


it's different
By mahax on 11/24/2009 10:58:05 AM , Rating: 2
animal brain is a sum of all it's input and output (action, reactions). We are defined by our lives and if you just set up these neurons in software, what will they do? Interact randomly? Animal brain starts it's growth from only a couple of (I presume) specialized cells which then form up by some plan or logic. Setting up billion of them just like that would, in my mind, seem to equal only braindead. The software would have to be able to "grow" the brain first...




RE: it's different
By grath on 11/24/2009 12:12:21 PM , Rating: 2
It would be braindead in the sense of a CPU not being plugged into a motherboard. The point is to not just simulate the brain, but also to simulate the inputs and outputs you speak of and how the brain processes them. Its better to start with a developed adult brain, determine some basic I/O functionality, then work incrementally backwards from there toward a less developed.

You are probably right, that to truly simulate complex emergent behavior from a biological system would require the system to develop under I/O exposure from the early stages, but it is better to reverse engineer the finished product than to start with a couple brain stem cells and try to recreate evolution.


Comparing to LHC
By axias41 on 11/24/2009 7:50:54 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
comparing his work to the magnitude of work done on the Large Hadron Collider project


Are you joking? LHC is going to create black holes! BLACK HOLES! ;-)




power
By MamiyaOtaru on 11/25/2009 4:04:07 AM , Rating: 2
Whatever he did, guaranteed he is using just a bit more power than an actual cat brain. I'd love to know just how much




you call this journalism?
By magneticfield on 11/24/09, Rating: -1
RE: you call this journalism?
By FITCamaro on 11/24/2009 6:52:40 AM , Rating: 1
It's Jason....


RE: you call this journalism?
By Trisagion on 11/24/2009 7:39:15 AM , Rating: 5
Please excuse him. He could not brain today. He had the dumb.


RE: you call this journalism?
By jonmcc33 on 11/24/09, Rating: 0
"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki