IBM and US Government Seek to Build Computer Brain as Smart as a Cat
November 21, 2008 11:21 AM
comment(s) - last by
The key component of the computer "brain" under development by IBM and the government is the modeling of synapse connections between neurons.
(Source: Science Photo Library)
IBM is trying to develop circuits that mimic the human brain
Think that computer upgrades could one day make the human brain obsolete? You're
. However, to reach that critical milestone key upgrades in computing will be needed to make computers more brain-like in operation.
To those ends IBM is taking the lead on a major government research endeavor in the field of "cognitive computing" which pairs neurobiologists, computer and materials scientists and psychologists in a $4.9M USD DARPA-grant driven project to develop a computer that
behaves like a brain
, down to the neuron level.
Dharmendra Modha, the IBM scientist who is heading the collaboration describes, "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. There are no computers that can even remotely approach the remarkable feats the mind performs. The key idea of cognitive computing is to engineer mind-like intelligent machines by reverse engineering the structure, dynamics, function and behavior of the brain."
The project will utilize an IBM supercomputer as its hardware, a field where IBM has
long been king of the hill
. Five universities will devote their talents to making this computer behave like a collection of neurons. The goal is replicate behavior in simulations. The long term goal is to create a "brain" on the intelligence level of a cat.
The work will draw heavily from neuroscience, which has mapped out simple animal brains and how they respond to stimuli. Project leader Mr. Modha has some brain-simulating experience of his own -- last year he led a team which used an IBM BlueGene supercomputer to
simulate a mouse brain with 55m neurons
and some half a trillion synapses. He describes, "But the real challenge is then to manifest what will be learned from future simulations into real electronic devices - nanotechnology."
Today electronics can be manufactured at as high a density as animal neurons.
The new effort differs from efforts to establish so-called
. Neural networks, which seek to simulate connections of neurons and can approach learning-like behavior, and artificial intelligence are inherently different from the attempt to create a full brain. Says Mr. Modha, "The issue with neural networks and artificial intelligence is that they seek to engineer limited cognitive functionalities one at a time. They start with an objective and devise an algorithm to achieve it. We are attempting a 180 degree shift in perspective: seeking an algorithm first, problems second. We are investigating core micro- and macro-circuits of the brain that can be used for a wide variety of functionalities."
The result is more of a synaptic network than a neural one. The key component to which the brain owes its flexibility is the synapse. Synapses connect neurons together in the brain and it is these connections that help us think.
Experts worldwide are intrigued by the project, but fear that the US government is underfunding it. Still, says Christian Keysers, director of the neuroimaging center at University Medical Centre Groningen, "It's an interesting effort, and modeling computers after the human brain is promising."
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: smart computer...
11/21/2008 12:39:45 PM
Or the damn thing getting sprayed by a skunk. Tomato juice and computer brains don't mix.
RE: smart computer...
11/21/2008 12:48:06 PM
At least it won't be an eyesore in the house anymore. The computer will run and hide under the couch every time you look at it wrong.
When you push the start button an MP3 player will play a recording of a can opener looped continuously.
RE: smart computer...
11/21/2008 12:55:20 PM
Great that means I may goes days, weeks, or months without seeing my computer. Because sometimes it just really pisses the S**t out of me....
"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
Conference Examines Man and Machine Merging, How Tech Will Make Human Brain Obsolete
July 15, 2008, 3:34 PM
Roadrunner Dominates Top500 Supercomputers List
June 18, 2008, 2:24 PM
Report: Olfactory Bulb Neurons Change On the Fly to Resolve Smells
December 18, 2007, 11:20 AM
Researchers Simulate Mouse Brain on Computer
April 30, 2007, 5:57 PM
Campbell's Monkeys Found to Use Different Dialects to Describe Local Threats
December 22, 2014, 3:52 PM
Scientist Confirm Men are More Likely to Die in "Idiotic" Ways
December 17, 2014, 1:07 PM
Shoppers Surprised to Find Cards Against Humanity's Bullsh*t is Real Feces
December 16, 2014, 11:14 PM
Air Force Worries Hot Fuel Could Harm F-35, "Proactively" Paints Trucks Shiny
December 11, 2014, 9:06 AM
McDonald's is Testing Tablet-Based Burger Customization at 30 Franchises
December 10, 2014, 11:30 AM
Detroit Pulls Together Amidst Massive Blackout
December 2, 2014, 3:57 PM
Most Popular Articles
BlackBerry Classic Sells Out Online (Seriously, It Has) for North America
December 15, 2014, 7:07 PM
Paramount Bans Team America Screenings, Cowers Submissively to North Korea
December 18, 2014, 10:26 PM
Apple Abandons Russia; Ruinous Ruble Run Sees 25% Inflation in a Single Day
December 16, 2014, 5:40 PM
News Corp's Fox is Terrified of North Korea, Kills Upcoming Steve Carell Film
December 18, 2014, 4:09 PM
Android-Powered BLU Studio 7.0 Claims to be the "World's Largest Smartphone"
December 19, 2014, 2:40 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information